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The University College Literary and Scientific Society, in presenting 
this their first "Annual" to the Undergraduates, Graduates, and friends 
of the Institution, within whose halls the Society finds a home, begs to 
draw attention to some particulars connected with the Society which 
may prove interesting to those to whom the following pages are 
addressed, and also to clearly define the position it desires to 
occupy in thus coming before the public. The Association from 
which this publication issues, now well on to the second decade 
of its existence, has for its immediate object the cultivation of Public 
Speaking, English Reading, and Essay Writing on literary and 
scientific subjects among the students of Toronto University. For 
this purpose weekly meetings are held on Friday evenings, every 
fourth meeting being announced as a public one, to which the Professors 
of the College, as patrons of the Society, are invited, together with the 
residents in the city, to whom opportunity is offered of evincing the 
kindly interest they may feel for the sayings and doings of youths thus 
fitting themselves for future life. In addition, the College Council offer 
prizes to be competed for in the various literary departments of which 
the Society, as another Professorship, takes charge ; while the scientific 
element receives special encouragement from a Silver Medal presented 
with praiseworthy generosity by W. B. McMurrich, Esq., M.A., to the 
essayist who displays the greatest talent and research on some subject 
within the domain of the Natural Sciences. The public meetings have 
invariably received the heartiest support, and have attracted no small 
measure of attention from the citizens ; by means of these, and more 
especially by the Annual Conversazione, on which occasion the sombre 
cloisters of the University building are filled to overflowing by " the 
young, the beautiful, the good," the upholders of the Society have been 
encouragtd in their labors, and finding their efforts at self-improvement 
receive a notice somewhat commensurate with the importance of those 
accomplishments the exercise of which so materially aids any one 
desirous of achieving distinction in the professional or political world, 
feel their hands strengthened, and, anxious to rise to yet higher and 
better things, sincerely hope that their endeavors to promote the mighty 
work of mental and moral improvement will deserve favor not only from 
those more intimately connected with the Institution, but also from the 
students of sister Colleges, and from the busy world, who, though dwell- 


ing beyond the pale of Alma Mater, are yet ever prepared to take 
approving cognizance of efforts at advancement when made in a spirit of 
modest dignity. The growing importance of the Society as a means of 
self-education, and the increasing attention to its best interests, have 
of late years justified the annual publication of their President's Inau- 
gural Address. And now the time appears to have come for another 
step forward, and, in addition to the President's Address, the Literary 
Prize Essays of last session are published, together with articles on 
"Sketches of the Society," "The Ptifle Corps," and "Athletic Sports," 
which latter two, though not on subjects purely literary, yet must win 
attention, as embodying the military and athletic elements of the Col- 
lege — elements which have attained so high a degree of importance at 
the Universities of Britain and the States. The idea of publishing a 
Magazine emanating from the students is indeed no new one ; there have 
been two different periods of the Society's life at which the scheme of 
publishing a Monthly was made the subject of earnest and eager discus- 
sion. The wary foresight of former years, however, saw lions in the 
way, and though the idea was implanted with the hope of engendering 
fruit in after time, the scheme, approved of on all hands, was ultimately 
abandoned, as having practical difficulties which might imperil the purse 
and reputation of the Society. The project, however, has been sedu- 
lously cherished until this time, and modified by the experience of the 
past, has at length taken shape in this "Annual," the publication of 
which has been prompted by no sordid design of pecuniary gain, nor by 
any vain desire of its attracting attention as an educator or leader of 
literary opinion on the subjects herein discussed ; but the Members of 
the Society, animated almost solely by the natural desire of self- 
cultivation, hope that by this means a greater degree of originality of 
thought and facility of writing may be encouraged among themselves, 
so that in after years they may be the better prepared to fill with 
becoming credit the little niche destined for each one of them. This 
first occasion of making use of the press for self-improvement, is under- 
taken under a proper sense of the difficulty and responsibility involved ; 
for, in addition to the fact that by far the greater portion of the follow- 
ing was written without the remotest intention of publishing, be it 
remembered, that there are here presented not the single results of the 
real business of the student, — for such real business, the acquisition of 
principles and facts by exhausting study, is only measured by means 
purely academic, — but here are offered the results of mere fragments of 
time, culled here and there from the many hours devoted to more 
arduous duties, which are so occupied from a thorough conviction that 
literary composition is as true an educator as the subjects of curriculum, 


and cannot be wisely left unpractised until an undergraduate course is 
spent, though indeed the mental activity of the student is more than 
sufficiently exercised on what is more purely the work of the University. 
Coupled with such feelings, arises incidentally a hope that something in 
the following pages may arrest the attention and prove instructive, and 
that the intelligence which is furnished as to the success with which the 
great aims of this non-Sectarian and Provincial Institution are being 
carried out may be welcomed by those who regard its prosperity with 
approbation. To the Alumni especially is it addressed, as thus bearing 
a visible testimony to the progress the vSociety has already made, holding 
out a something wherewith they may bind their sympathies more closely 
with those of the University which fostered them, and awakening, per- 
haps, within them, a thrill of pleasing recollections, as they turn yside 
for a moment from the throb of busy life, and hail right heartily this 
new-comer into the arena of Canadian literature The Society then, 
animated by such purposes, sends forth this its first-born ; still, however, 
with true parental solicitude, that the new being may inhale strength 
from the atmosphere of a healthful popularity, and having attained a 
sturdy manhood may at length pass away, having served its proposed 
object, to give place to a Monthly Magazine, which, a seedling of Uni- 
versity literature, may expand and in time take a respectable position 
among the periodicals of the Dominion, be aii able exponent of the 
grand principles which have for their object the advancement of the 
intellectual and the moral, and become a vehicle of the manly thought, 
liberal opinions, and ambitious yearnings of the gownsmen of future 

John A. Paterson, M.A. 



October 30th, 1868, 
Rev. John McCaul, LL.D., in the Chair. 

To the Members of the University College Literary and Scientific 

Gentlemen : 

It now becomes me to return my very sincere and respectful thanks 
for the kindness which has placed me in a chair, rendered dignified and 
an object of honorable ambition by the many men who have filled it in 
former times, the very mention of whose names might well make any 
comparison alarming to a far more worthy successor. It was not for 
my predecessor last year, nor is it for me this year, to question the 
correctness of a decision respecting an issue on which the constitution 
empowers you to be judges from whom there is no appeal ; I feel assured, 
however, that my fellow-candidate for your suffrages, whom I am happy 
to be able to call my friend, would have most gracefully worn the mantle 
of office with which you have seen fit to endow me. In the former 
years of our Society's existence, the elections for office were conducted 
with a spirit of peacefulness and unanimity, which, however gratifying 
to the honored recipient, was by no means indicative of a plurality of 
official talent, nor of that healthful play of vitality which, if properly 
restrained within the limits of honorable emulation, conduces so powerfully 
to our development. Two successive elections we have seen conducted 
in a spirit not purely pacific, but still not violently warlike ; we have 
seen the strife of parties, and the resistless force of the vox pojmli tending 
to prevent a listless apathy which might engender the poisonous mists of 
stagnation. Our little student world is periodically agitated by throes 
of internal convulsions, occurring with unwavering regularity, which soon 
evince themselves in so-called caucus meetings, fiery harangues from 
beardless demagogues, mysterious private conversations, all premonitory 
symptoms of a grand electoral contest soon to be waged in that ever 
memorable West-end Reading-room. On one side stand the brazen- 
tuniced Myrmidons, and on the other glitter the long-shadowed spears of 
the heroes of Troy ; terrible are the heart-cutting words of the Greek 
warriors, and no less fearful are the verbal javelins of the undaunted 
Trojan soldiers ; round about flash the satire-pointed brands, from side to 
side fly the winged words, — alas ! however, for Homeric simile, the man. 
slaying Hector has forgotten his character, for, leaving his spearmen to 


wage the bloodless fray, he does not aim lusty blows at the helm of the 
god-like Achilles, but Patroclus-like sits with him as trusty companion. 
Assuredly it would need the pen of a Homer or an Ossian to fitly 
describe how the battle clangs, and sing the glories of the dawn of peace. 
Year by year our Society increases in importance, enjoying no ordinary 
participation in the onward march of all the great influences for moral 
and intellectual advancement ; of necessity then, the chief office in its 
gift, the Presidency, becomes more and more an object of honorable 
aspiration to the young undergraduate, when, doffing his chrysalis state, 
he no longer creeps, but winged with a Bachelor's Hood, he emerges to 
the light of day, exulting in his strength, and rejoicing in all the beauti- 
fied glories of a mind seeking to nestle in " an eyrie on the heaven-kissed 
heights of wisdom." The years are not far distant, when the Presidency 
will mark certain great epochs in our College annals, when the term 
" Preside," coupled with the name of some distinguished graduate, will 
signalize events in our history, and have the same significance in our ear, 
and recall to all memories as dear as the term " Consulibus " did to the 
ancient in the palmy days of the republic, when the seven-hilled citv 
stood, or the " Archon Eponymus" to the old Athenian, dwelling among 
his temples and his statues ; and circumstances of interest will be recalled, 
not as belonging to the year 18 — or 19 — , but as having happened in 
the distinguished Presidency of such-a-one. ' 

It becomes me then, as President, to deliver to you the annual 
Inaugural Address. Of what this so-called Inaugural Address must 
necessarily consist, as yet remains an inscrutable mystery : the most 
sagacious men, after mature deliberation, stating that it is a species of 
composition whose subject must come within the range of the Ency- 
clopaedia, but not having any essential characteristic, it is in consequence 
an aberrant type of essay beyond the limits of logical definition, Protean 
in form, and receiving its subject-matter from the particular requirements 
of time and place. And when one considers the many excellent addresses 
you have heard from this chair, and which, moreover, you hold in your 
hands as publications, the writing of one which will reflect glory on you 
as a Society, and fitly represent your renown, is surely a task which 
demands the highest powers of original genius. With a full appreciation, 
then, of the difficulty and responsibility entailed, I address myself to the 
work in question, animated by a determination to offer nothing for your 
acceptance " nisi perfectum ingenio, elaboratum industrid," feeling deeply 
too, the pleasure it affords me in giving the first impetus to the work of 
the session before us, and in bidding another page be opened in the Life- 
book of our Society to be illuminated, let me hope, by new triumphs. I 
shall indeed feel well recompensed for my labor, if, in the course of these 


remarks I may lend some new aspect to a trite thought or stereotyped 
opinion, or if, among a multitude of shells dashed up to your grasp, you 
may espy some bright pearl which may radiate some gleams of pleasure 
or instruction. 

It is on occasions like the present, when we, the members of a College, 
welcome to our hall of debate the world of non-collegians, that it is fitting 
to invite their interest in our sayings and doings, and to erect a bridge 
of communication over the great gulf fixed between Studentdom and 
those whose lot is not cast within the charmed circle of the muses, but 
who stand in the outer courts. And though, in the course of the follow- 
ing remarks, the uncharitable may say, I jest with things venerable,and 
lash with the scourge of an Orbilian critic, yet, be it remembered, I 
have engraven on my shield the motto " ridentem dicere vera quid vetat ? " 
"We quiz only our sensitive selves ; and if this address survive the wreck 
of matter, and fall into the hands of some enterprising New Zealander, 
who may have a mania for musty manuscripts, it may form a convenient 
hand-book of College life " at one of those ancient Universities which 
taught Greek and the long-exploded Newtonian philosophy, at a time 
when railways, nine o'clock lectures, policemen, and other relics of a 
dark and barbarous age were still extant," and, as such, will form a 
valuable addition to the Museum of the Antiquarian Society. 

Years ago, men of letters were looked upon by the unlettered with 
mixed feelings of superstitious awe and grave suspicion, as though leagued 
with some evil agency ; and, in a degree, this is true yet, for the young 
man, who " goes through College," goes through a dread process of 
expurgation from the fraction of original virtue inherent in him, and 
emerges from the dark groves of Academia into the busy world as a wily 
giant, polished in all methods of dissimulation, skilled in the art of con- 
cealing thoughts by uttering words, against whom, especially if he be a 
disciple of Blackstone, it is wise for every honest man to beware. If any 
student doubt the fact that popular tradition has assigned to him a 
character by no means the most illustrious, let him, wrapt in his 
mantling gown and with rectangular cap, stride through those quarters 
of our metropolis where the myriad unhallowed and unlaved dwell ; the 
infants who congregate in the gutters and spread their festive board with 
mud confectionery, on the sight of his sombre-bued gown waving like a 
gloomy shade on Acherontian shores, straightway start from their banquet 
and toddle with alarmed features within doors, where safe under parental 
roof- tree, peering through the broken window-pane, they murmur with 
white lips the dread word, "Kidnappers !" May not such a reputation 
be an inheritance from some old monkish superstition % Dame Rumor 
too hath it, that students, and more especially Arts-men, by way of 


making the study of Evidences popular have discovered an unaccountable 
predilection for signs, other than those of algebra or of the zodiac, and 
that a museum has been established within our sacred precincts, wherein 
is collected a well-selected assortment of statuary for connoisseurs in the 
Fine Arts, and divers articles appertaining to the parcel-tying portion of 
the community, all to be seen by the lurid glare from a gigantic lamp, 
and that although they cannot exhibit a full length specimen of the 
Canadian beaver, "from the tip of the nose to the insertion of the tail," 
yet some varieties of the animal's hide, tortured into a cylindrical form, 
might be seen, the result of a capital joke perpetrated on brethren of a 
sister college. With regard to the signs, it is reported on undoubted au- 
thority, that a mathematical gentleman, who .has not yet deserted his 
Alma Mater, remarked that there had been manifestly a great subtraction 
of signs, for the owners were quite nonplussed at accounting for their dis- 
appearance, and that the cruel depredators had certainly eliminated 
quantities, for they had been removed from their native threshold, and their 
roots having been extracted had been transplanted to bloom anew in the 
groves of the Academy. 

When we consider such libels, and more than all the lamentable whine 
about our godless character that finds circulation among interested par- 
ties, it is no wonder that Mrs. Grundy sapiently shakes her head, and 
wiping her spectacles, as she pauses in reading the "denominational 
College question" gives vent to a heartfelt prayer, that her boy, the dar- 
ling of her heart and the apple of his father's eye, may not be led awav 
to plunge into the reckless whirl of urbane dissipation, but that, an ark 
of moral strength, he may ride the hungry waves of godlessnes rushing to 
strand him, until a haven is reached safe from the perilous shoals of non- 
sectarianism. But yet when we consider the goodly number of ladies 
and gentlemen who having visited us to-night in our lair, and who 
finding themselves surrounded by the much dreaded, begowned, square- 
capped men, and seeing that we are neither Anthropophagi, nor "men whose 
heads do grow beneath their shoulders," nor indeed demons of wickedness 
may possibly depart with the belief that at least we are respectable and 
sane members of society, let us feel assured that, however calumniated 
by rustic swains, ragged urchins, pusillanimous opponents of museums, 
and contemporary collegians who, among other privileges, enjoy the foster- 
ing guardianship of moral governors, yet we have with us in all our joys 
and fears the hearty sympathy of all the right-minded and sober thinking. 
Indeed, we all know, that the funds so lavishly spent on our University 
and kindred Colleges might purchase an amazing quantity of turnips, 
carcasses of excellent beef ad infinitum, and broad acres of fustian to feed 
and clothe the hungered clamorous ones throughout our Province ; yet 


who that possesses exact facts and clear ideas will gainsay, that University 
College and minor kindred Colleges, notwithstanding alleged extravagance 
and implied impiety, are accomplishing great and important ends, and 
annually sending forth noble phalanxes of youths fitted to do battle for 
the cause of truth, both intellectual and moral ? To what theme of 
interest, then, will we turn for the wholesome instruction of the guests 
whose ears have rejected. the leperous distilment of prejudice, and whom 
no fear of encouraging monopoly and impious corruption has prevented 
from visiting our College to-night 1 

It is characteristic for men to seek objects of interest in some far 
removed region, to which distance lends romance and fascination. On 
this principle we hear of men of the " Excelsior" stamp scaling sky- 
piercing cliffs or scouring the western prairies, ballooning the upper 
aether or descending into coal pits, freezing beneath a polar sun or 
burning beneath a tropical sky ; and we read " Voyages to the Canary 
Islands," "Supping with the Khan of Tartary," ■" Shooting Seals with 
his Majesty of Greenland," " A History of the Dynasties of Timbuctoo," 
and other works of a lively and popular character j yet, if instruction be 
our object, such pilgrimages are unnecessary, for assuredly the compass 
of these very walls, which surround us, teems with subjects of curiosity 
and objects of interest. Notwithstanding this, you may ransack our 
spacious library, and laboriously search through tomes of all languages 
written by the " numberless vagabonds who go to and fro over the face 
of our globe," and only find reason to mourn like Charon, and lament, 
that of us Graduates, Sophomores, and Freshmen, ''there is no mention." 
Be it, then, my task, to call up before you the academic lions, and 
discourse concerning the indwellcrs of this vast temple of science — 
" things unattempted yet in prose or rhyme." 

" Dicam insigne, recens, adhnc 
Indictum ere, alio." 

Following the example of epic poets, I plunge in medias res and call 
up first the Ultra-reading man, one who appears under phases and hues as 
many and various as those of an expiring dolphin, and whose characteristics 
demand more than a passing attention. As he courts seclusion, I 
must beg forgiveness for the sad impiety of rending the veil of his sanc- 
tum, where he is generally to be seen basking in the genial rays of brain- 
fostering warmth streaming from some ponderous lexicon or knotty 
examination problem. He may be revelling in the intricate mazes of a 
Greek chorus, refreshing himself after one, a.m., with Homer; or, with 
dishevelled locks and eyes rolling in a fine poetic phrenzy, after the most 
approved manner of an inspired bard, seeking for a word with two shorts 
and a long to remedy his limping line. Or he may be fighting manfully 


over horizontal rows of mathematical hieroglyphics, more tortuous than 
those of the Rosetta stone, covering good paper with appalling mon- 
strosities, that might fitly represent Hydras dire or the dusky folds of a 
Gorgon ; s head embellishing a circle in Dante's Inferno, all tending to 
the solution of a problem to which that of the Sphinx might be an easy 
corollary, and riding at last to a glorious victory in a triumphal car 
drawn by a procession of x's and y's. In ambrosial night, when sweet 
sleep comes upon him, he dreams of Marathon, is personally insulted by 
a Greek particle, and becomes mollified by a conversation with Cicero on 
the enormous quantity of fourth-year work ; or else he is engaged in a 
conflict with a trapezium, and is haunted by the spectres of parabolas and 
hyperboloids, while the Examiners for his medal with cap and gown 
smoke his pipe, if he has one, and arrange his Newton and Sandemann 
in the form of a rhomboid. Whether such visions issue from the ivory 
or horn Dream-gate, he settles by an appeal to the metaphysical dogmas 
of Homer. 

The conversation of these gentlemen is in the most part about scholar- 
ships and medals : they wrangle as to who is the man of the year, and 
tell funny stories to each other about wrong answers at examinations, 
and instances of false quantities made by scholars of repute. Sometimes, 
too, the Ultra-reader may be seen exercising his limbs in the Gymnasium, 
which he does not think below a classical mind, partly because he reads 
the ancient Athenian did likewise, and that Horace celebrates the "grace- 
bestowing palaestra," and partly, because the word " Gymnasium" is 
associated in his mind with a book written by a certain Mr. Crombie ; 
or he may be viewed chasing the flying football over the rectangular 
green, forcibly exemplifying the doctrine of impulsive forces, and kick- 
ing with an activity suggestive of demoniac possession. This exercise 
has been known to stimulate the muse, as there is an authentic instance 
of one of this genus, when perspired into a state of excessive inspira- 
tion, penning the following fragment : — 

" The Arts men's wrath to Meds, the direful spring 
Of shins unnumbered bruised sing, goddess, sing. 
Those limping -wretches raise such horrid cries, 
That Jove disturbed looks down with angry eyes, 
The gods all laugh, for now the men of bones 
Have tripped the struggling mass of caps and gowns, 
All which lie prone, a grand chaotic strife, 
With here and there a leg alleging life 
And vigor ; Antaeus-like they rise, and smite 
Th' impetuous men of drugs with fearful might, 
Blood bursts and smokes, until a shout proclaims— 
the distressing fact, 


"That Arts have won, 
For flies the ball 
Right through 
The goal next to 
The portal of the U- 
[Ex eunt the Medicals. Enter the chorus, playing harps, and chanting a triumphal paean ." ] 

The chief beauty of the above will be observed to consist in a violation 
of all ordinary metrical rules and canons. 

Natural scenery, lakes, mountains, valleys, with the 

" domus Albuneae resonantis, 

Et pneceps Anio, ac Tiburni lucus, et uda 
Mobilibus pomaria rivis," 

he views with an interest in proportion to their capacity of furnishing 
a sum either in Trigonometry or Hydrostatics : and if Milton's Paradise 
Lost be spoken of, he drawls out : "Well, it may be a very line thing ; but, 
after all, what does it prove V 3 Of course I must be here understood 
to speak of him who too devoutly worships at the shrine of the " cross- 
grained muses of tijie cube and square." 

The Ultra-reader sometimes comes into the Society, but finding that 
the Homeric controversy is never referred to, and that the General 
Committee collectively cannot write faultless elegiacs, nor give the dialectic 
varieties of the Greek verb, he votes the whole thing stale and unprofit- 
able, abandoning it forever. There is a legend, however, of one man of 
this type, Whiffle by name, who was induced to take part in a debate for 
which due preparation was allowed. Whiffle was not seen for several 
days, in fact, in academic language, " he cut lectures," and it seemed the 
general impression that mounted on the eagle wings of eloquence he 
would strike the stars with his sublime head. Alas, however, it seemed 
otherwise to the gods ! The eventful period arrived, and Whiffle was seen 
by his admiring friends arranging his gown in graceful festoons like that in 
a statue of the late Cicero, at the same time nervously twitching like De- 
mosthenes with the swords above him. His leader began and was acquit- 
ting himself very creditably, when our hero waxed sudden pale, with quiver- 
ing knees he gasped out to a friend, that it was all over, and fled the scene 
melting into thin air, like Macbeth 's dagger. It appeared afterward, 
that Mr. Whiffle, not being of a particularly original turn of mind, had 
committed a speech compiled from a work in the library ; by accident his 
leader had committed the same piracy, and the poor man in consequence 
felt unwell. I could, if time were to permit, describe other types of 
this genus, but enough has been said respecting this strange monstrosity, 
which we are happy to say is seldom to be met with in our College, 
though indeed some milder varieties are seen now and then to flit over the 
academic horizon, — but to such men I emphatically say " procul este." 


There is however another genus of undergraduate whose importance 
justifies a little attention. What name to give him I know not, though 
I may characterize him as belonging to the Peripatetic school of philosophy, 
as the reading-man may be said to belong to the Academic. In fine 
weather he may be seen oscillating to and fro on the principal streets, 
attracting some notice from the idle by the perfect fitness of his coat, his 
necktie which is a work of genius, and the skilful manner with which he 
vibrates a cane of the rarest beauty. Sometimes however, he strays 
from the tenets of his school, and because Epicurean, in which character 
lie frequents pastry cooks, at whose secret shrines he celebrates the 
mysteries of the sect by holding joyous Saturnalia, or at other temples 
. with unsparing hand pours forth brimming goblets of old Falernian, 
offering libations to the rosy god of wine ; at one time chanting with 
his boon companions a plaintive ditty, the refrain of which is that 
they esteem themselves jolly fellows, which interesting fact they allege 
" nobody can deny ;" while at another time, they assert in touching 
stanzas that it is contrary to their philosophy to hie their way home 
until the "rosy-fingered morn unbar the gates of light." At another 
time he justifies the appellation Stoic, by standing in the porch on a 
sunny day, conversing with his fellows respecting the false views of 
the Academics, who think the sovereign good to be in digesting as 
large a portion of the curriculum as possible, Such a childish vanity 
he views with ineffable contempt, and confidingly whispers that he has 
long been thinking of giving the rein to his soaring talent, and taking 
double honors : we may add that round the porch, to the best of our 
knowledge, no new idea was ever picked up. He seldom appears in the 
reading-room of the Library, but in the news-room of the Society he may 
be seen taking a part from the solid day, lolling over Punch, the Journal 
of Education, or some other amusing periodical, and when asked at lecture 
to demonstrate his proposition or construe his Tacitus he puts in a " non 
paravi" This aberrant type, however, has his time of reading, for dimly 
apparent in a haze of nicotian and tormenting smoke, he may be 
seen working up his Philippics, with an open pony beside him, b which 
I do not mean a butchered quadruped, for no student of Humanity would 
commit murder, but one of those 

" Ponies that perhaps another 

Toiling up the College hill, 
A forlorn and younger brother, 

Riding, may rise higher still," 

that is to say, a Pegasus of Anglo Saxon blood, fed in the classical 
stalls of Bohn or Harper, astride of which the rider seeks to spurn the 
rough roads of learning, and to reach the same goal as he who creeps 
along with a staff marked <( Liddell and Scott." If, however, the quagmire 


of a hard passage, or a difficult chorus is to be crossed, Pegasus frequently 
proves restive, stung perhaps, by a Jove-sent hornet, and the proud rider 
being hurled down among a mass of irregular perfects, and dialectic 
varieties, gropes blindly among the thickening gloom, and, becoming 
demoralized at length by the unequal struggle, in a fit of fell despair 
reclines his head on the Greek text, and soon are heard from him nasal 
sounds, " fearfully and wonderfully made," doubtless the gurglings of a 
solemn invocation to the Olympic Jupiter for aid in his dire distress. 
When the Peripatetic, Epicurean, or Stoic enters the examination hall, 
where inquisitive gentlemen who propound unwarrantably curious ques- 
tions preside, seated on a perfectly insulated chair, he hoists colors of 
distress to some neighbouring Academic, or finds relief in a minute 
inspection of finger-nails or wristbands, which at certain seasons exhibit 
the Curious phenomenon of delicately traced marks bearing a close re- 
semblance to historical dates and other gems of useful knowledge 
which being exhausted, he may perhaps adopt the harmless device of 
" demons," by which is meant expected propositions written with great 
finish and artistic skill on small slips of paper of kindred color to that 
used in the hall, — these facts may be interesting to the examiners in 
Ethics. In event of these and numberless other ruses de yuerre failing 
for lecturers and examiners he regards as his natural foes — he has re- 
course to his own native intelligence, which has been known to produce 
answers of the most astonishing originality and the most exact definiteness 
even to such a perplexing question as " Who dragged whom round 
the walls of what, and why'? " It is recorded of one such undergraduate 
that, on a certain occasion, when undergoing an examination in Ancient 
Geography, he was asked to draw a map of Judaea, marking the prin 
cipal places of interest : — the answer appeared on his paper in the 
form of an irregular curve with serrated boundary, in the centre 
of it a large star marked Jerusalem, and, a little way oil, another 
smaller star, with the figure of a hand pointing to a foot note, which 
obligingly informed the astonished examiner that this is the place 
where the man fell among thieves. On the other side of Jerusalem 
appeared a spidery sort of blot, marked Gamaliel, and an accompanying 
explanation set forth that this was a high mountain, at the foot of 
which Paul sat, and was taught in the laws of his fathers. It 
is perhaps needless to remark that the names of such young gentlemen 
sometimes appear in the class-list among the Apostles, that is to say, 
among the last twelve of the Polls or third class ; while sometimes 
they appear with an "a" attached, in which case the fear is at least 
warrantable that the examiners have not proved impartial or have, with 
reprehensible carelesness, mislaid their papers. I might treat further 


of other genera of undergraduates, did space permit ; for have we not the 
Military Undergraduate ; the Punning Undergraduate ; the Dancing Un- 
dergraduate, who invariably has a small head, with no comprehension, and 
s eeks to counteract an abnormal extension of limb by a series of Grecian 
bends executed with great flexibility ; the Fast Undergraduate, who know- 
ingly intimates to young Fresh that he is " up to a thing or two" ; the 
Sporting Undergraduate, who asserts that Apollo drove his chariot tandem, 
quoting in authority Horace, " tandem venias" ; the Cricketing Under- 
graduate, who knows the weight and specialty of each individual in the 
All England Eleven, and firmly believes that Snuffle, who bowls round- 
arm so terrifically, is the most remarkable man in the Dominion ; the 
Musical Undergraduate who, with frantic gesture and melodramatic mag- 
nificence, bleats out " Fra Diavolo," or "Void le sabre demon pere" ; the 
Theatrical Undergraduate, who now assumes postures a la Hamlet before 
the ghost, and anon roars like Othello in his rage ; and lastly, the Model 
Undergraduate, whose name I mention with profound respect, as a 
gentleman with whom I have not an acquaintance sufficient to warrant 
the liberty of introducing him to your notice 1 Some one of you, how 
ever, may here say as the North Briton did on reading "Gulliver's 
Travels," — " It's a' a lee, frae eend tae eend." Well, no, not quite. I 
have said enough to hold the mirror up to nature, and to satisfy you 
that there has been "a chiel amang ye takin' notes." 

But a truce to such sketches imperfect as they are, and come, let us 
find a graver theme which may chasten our reflections into a soberer 
cast. On an occasion like this, it becomes us students of a great National 
University, standing as the most of us do on the threshold of manhood, 
and preparing to trudge life's dusty path, to pause for a while in our 
laborious outfitting, and reflect on the many means of improvement we 
enjoy in making these studious cloisters the centre of our interests, not 
for the four years only of our summer's prime, but may I not say for- 
tune yet to come 1 and furthermore to consider, whether we make full 
use of all opportunities afforded for preparation for that higher sphere 
before each one of us, gilded as it is by the buoyant hopes and lively 
anticipations of every youth of spirited ambition. 

A stranger who passes through our corridors, and glances into our 
lecture-rooms, sees nothing to attract his thoughts, save a dull tier of 
empty benches, facing a polished black-board, mayhap embellished with 
the illustration of some past lecture ; he may look curiously at the rostrum 
and admire its carvings, recking naught for the past occupants of these 
cheerless benches, nor for that chair oft filled by him at whose feet others 
have loved to sit and listen. Can this however be truly said of any one 
of us 1 Will we not often think of those others, who with us, side by 


side, once quaffed the same nectared sweets of knowledge 1 " But alas ! " 
as Menken beautifully says, "the soft, silver hand of death has unbound 
the galling bands that clasped the fretting soul in her narrow prison- 
house, " having grasped at the laurel they clutched the cypress, untram- 
melled now by a tenement of clay, having shaken off the shackles of 
mortality, they roam through empyrean fields of endless day, knowing 
far more philosophy than we have ever dreamed of, smiling perchance at 
those far-reaching speculations of great thinkers, which we in the body 
still strive to make our own, and, may it not be, still learning, still disco- 
vering, still piercing into the yet unseen and incomprehensible, but with 
powers far more acute than heretofore, and refined from the dross of frail 
humanity. Will not our spirits quicken, when our memories revert to 
that lecture-room, where, guided by one who possessed learning of rare 
exactitude, we heard the ringing tones of the patriot Demosthenes pealing 
down through the cloud of centuries, and the surging roar of the ap- 
plauding Athenians, echoing through sloping hills, seemed to strike on the 
ear, where before us the Homeric squadrons armed themselves for the 
heady fight, and we saw the chorus welling forth their tears, while the 
lost Alcestis lay a-dying^ The rapturous hours, too, will linger long in 
our memories which we spent in that other lecture-room, where the 
doctrines of that most exact of all science were eloquently expounded ; 
where the awe-stricken student felt ennobled on contemplating the great 
Sir Isaac, on witnessing the ecstasies of god-like intellect, and felt that 
surely a spark of the Creator's intelligence had electrified the mind of the 
creature, tutored it seemed by the whisperings of inspiration ; where the 
scroll of the sky was unrolled, and we felt as we gazed with the eye of 
intelligence on the starry glories of the night, that in consonance with the 
two great white arms of the heavens raised, as if in mute adoration, to the 
Creator, we might, too, acknowledge a divinity of power and of goodness. 
Deep enshrined, too, in our recollections will rise the hallowed time when 
the principles of History, as a "Philosophy teaching by example," were 
marshalled before us with rare ability, and when we listened to the varied 
melody of those tones that taught us the renown of our ancestors in word 
and deed, when our heart-strings were swept with lofty emotions, and 
echoed to the tuneful harmony of Milton, Shakspeare, and the other great 
masters of our mother tongue. We shall not forget, either, those skilful 
and dignified teachings of philosophy, leading us to hold converse witli 
the mighty minds of men of olden time, who taught us to regard mind 
as something palpable, and "the soul's immortality as something visible ; ; ' 
where Kant and Loeke, of Titan intellect, led us to look within ourselves, 
and to discern the nature of that great mystery, the invisible occupant 
of our frail tabernacle. Fondly, too, will dwell in our thoughts those 


other lecture rooms, where the wonders of Natural Science glittered 
before our admiring gaze in grand exuberance, where the glories of the 
green fields were descanted on, where the secrets of matter were un- 
ravelled, and we traced down through the crust of our planet the 
mysterious workings of Him " who sitteth on the circle of the heavens." 
What shall be said of another room yet, where weekly we sat together 
and, with no master mind to guide us, cheered each other on to 
thoughts of majesty and deeds of valour ; where, all academic grades 
on equal footing, we felt like brethren, and, shoulder to shoulder, we 
pressed forward to the coming life-battle, equipped with ambitious 
thoughts and holy purposes % 

Of this Society, then, which has its home within these walls, let it 
be our hint to speak. Our Association, I may state, for the information 
of the ignorant, was formed for the purpose of self-improvement in 
English Reading, Essay Writing, and Public Speaking. It comprehends 
nearly all students in the Faculty of Arts, with here and there some in 
the sister Faculties of Medicine and Law, which are the " rari nantcs" 
however great they may be in individual might. It is governed by a 
General Committee, who yearly give an account of their stewardship, 
headed by a President who is " primus inter pares ; " — our form of 
government, in fact, may be called republican. We possess a liberal 
constitution, — membership being open to any student, regardless of 
nationality, creed, or color ; and under the genial encouragement given 
by our professors and our city friends, we yearly expand in importance 
and renown, if not in affluence. 

The paramount advantages of such a Society cannot be doubted by 
any one who has given the subject the most casual attention. First to 
acquire, next to apply — may be a trite maxim, but still it is one of the 
most important value to every youth setting out to face the world ; he 
who acquires only, and neglects to apply, is at the best a learned pedant, 
whose after success in life, if achieved at all, is so done after surmount- 
ing obstacles which have no existence to him who has not only acquired, 
but who has also learned to utilize the result of his barren labors. A 
knowledge of every department of science and literature may here be 
gained by an unremitting attention to lectures delivered by the several 
professors, and a corresponding degree of labor at the text-books laid 
down in the curriculum ; but unless we seek to bring into practice the 
results of exhausting study, we fail to attain that high perfection of 
mental training to which it is our several designs to aspire. The object, 
then, of a Society constituted as ours, is to furnish opportunity where 
the facts gleaued in the studious cell, and the ideas nursed in cold and 
cheerless abstraction, may be utilized ; where every spark of latent 



genius may be sedulously cherished, and, being fanned by the honorable 
desire of pre-eminence among our fellows, may burst into brilliancy ; 
where, as the gladiators of old, we may fight a sham-battle, with blunt 
weapons as a prelude to the time when, in after years, armed with the 
breast-plate of knowledge and the lance of reason, we may ride many a 
victorious tilt over the hydra-headed giants of Error and Falsity. The 
training to which the undergraduate is subjected in the Society is the 
most effectual remedy for that most despicable of all things, which 
indeed sometimes finds a quiet corner to flaunt itself, — I mean the 
slimy growth of egotism, arrogance, and satisfied knowledge. Before 
the chilling ordeal of public opinion, for our Society represents the vox 
populi of studentdom, such things ripen not, bit, untimely nipped, 
wither to ashes, and by doing so nourish the roots of dignified humility 
and modest worth, — those virtues that find a dwelling in all the truly 
good and great. A man versed in the wisdom of the curriculum, and 
wrapped in the mantle of his own individuality, will learn a useful 
lesson when he has opportunities of seeing that there are other men as 
clever and wise as himself, not at all disposed to defer to his opinion as 
oracular, and who possess a far shrewder and more practical knowledge of 
men and manners ; he may be astonished to find that a large stock of 
irregular perfects and aorists or a surprising facility for solving problems 
of extreme subtlety will not of itself raise him to a position in the 
Society, and he may possibly be indignant when he sees men immea 
surably his inferiors in academic standing, and who know naught of 
Barbara, Celarent, &c., arguing most acutely on debate, when he sees 
men who are indifferent to the charms of the Icthyosaurus, declaiming 
most powerfully on some subject which has engaged the attention of the 
master minds of the world, but — let him learn. 

Much has been said in England by the extreme utilitarian school of 
educationists, of the Kobert Lowe stamp respecting the want of adapta- 
tion which the system of modern education has to the active duties of 
life, and so long as the nurslings of our Alma Mater will not aim at the 
practical, to long as they pay little or no attention to the utilizing train- 
ing to be received in such Institutions as Debating Societies, just so long 
will University education and the wants of the times be out of joint, 
and just so long will men of this school jeeringly ask us to shew to them 
among our Alumni statesmen, orators, judges, and authors. I could 
point to men before me to-night, who, though gifted with the most ex- 
cellent abilities, and possessed of not only a cultivated understanding, 
but of that spirit of indomitable perseverance, without which nothing 
great can be attained, who show at best a meagre appreciation of the 
mental attrition received, and the intellectual gymnastics undergone in 


the West End Reading Room ; and I tell them that if they continue to 
show such apathy to an institution which their talents would adorn, and 
still plunge unremittingly into Lexicons and Examination Papers, 
that shrewd practical men of the world will continue to have reason for 
the bitter taunt : " Shew us your men — where are they ?" 

True it is that a bare knowledge of the date of the battle of Marathon, 
or an acquaintance with the analysis of the Haloid Salts, will not of them- 
selves raise us to renown, but true it is also that a knowledge, and the more 
intimate the better, of the several departments of our curriculum betokens 
the existence and cultivation of certain faculties, by the exercise of which 
in the duties of active life success, must inevitably be achieved ; and the 
more towering too that success if such faculties have been whetted by 
intercourse with the little circle of men and manners by which we are 
surrounded, an epitome of that greater world to which we all aspire. And 
I call on each and all of you to bear me witness, that, during your four- 
year's course, you store by not a single fact nor obtain knowledge of a single 
principle, but that some faculty of the mind, being thereby strengthened 
and developed, opens up the pathway to fame amid the bustle and roar 
of future life. A soldier might be decked in glittering habiliments, with 
a sword of faultless steel and acutest edge on his thigh, a rifle of the 
most unerring accuracy and of the most cunning workmanship in his 
hands, ball cartridge innumerable by his side, yet he would be of no 
avail in the battle-field did he not understand his drill, unless he had a 
knowledge of fencing, his shining blade would be a weapon dangerous 
to himself and his friends ; had he not a knowledge of rifle practice, the 
method of loading, aiming, and firing, his deadly arm would be a burden 
to him ; and such a soldier, however suitable an adornment for the 
streets, would surely never be a lion in the fight. In just the same way, 
a man may be taught in all the wisdom of the ancients, his mind may be 
polished by studious contemplation of all the great models in ancient and 
modern times, his memory may be stored with the aphorisms of Socrates 
and Bacon, and he may be conversant with the technicalities of science 
and philosophy ; but unless he adapt his acquirements to suit his sur- 
roundings different from those of scholastic seclusion, unless he can 
utilize the results of his laborious study, and answer the " cui bono?" 
of the ignorant worldling by pointing him to his own successful career, 
he will go to and fro virtuous and happy, but neither glorifying his 
Creator with his wonderful abilities, nor shedding light in his day and 
generation, living an intellectual Hippogriff, a natural monstrosity, as he 
is, and at length sinking into a grave — " unwept, unhonored, and un- 

If you ask me to furnish you examples of the advantages of such a 


training as I wish to inculcate, I give you the experience of the greatest 
men who have adorned the scroll of fame. We find the boy Canning, at 
fifteen, establishing a society in Eton, in concert with the young Earl 
Grey, and the future Marquis Wellesley ; afterwards, at Oxford, we 
find him and Mr. Jenkinson, who, as Earl of Liverpool, was head of affairs 
for fifteen years, the ruling spirit in a Debating Club. Sir James 
Mcintosh, Sir Samuel Romilly attended them for years ; and Lord 
Mansfield has recorded that many of the arguments used by him while a 
young debater, were afterwards highly useful to him as Judge. Jeffrey, 
as critic in a Debating Society, first exhibited those remarkable powers 
in after years so terrible to many a hapless adventurer in the fields of 
literature. Dr. Arnold, the prince of schoolmasters, bore witness to the 
training of his early youth in the Attic Society, the germ of the Cam- 
bridge Union ; the renowned Chalmers in the cloisters of St. Andrew's, 
first tuned his words to eloquence, and, in youthful polemics, first un- 
sheathed that fiery sword of his, which with giant might he afterwards 
wielded for the smiting of flinty consciences, and the kindling up of a 
holy glow in the bosoms of hearers listening with stolidity to the grand 
doctrines of revelation, and a once-suffering, but now glorified Redeemer. 
Young Pitt, too, early tried his piniops, and gaining strength, soared 
into the imperial-minded Chatham, who "with eagle face and out- 
stretched arm so often bade England be of good cheer, and hurl defiance 
at her foes." 

The question, however, naturally arises from the young aspirant 
for the laurels of eloquence : " How am I to reach mediocrity, if not 
pre-eminence as a speaker V To this it may be replied, that though true, 
that " Orator nascitur nonjit" yet no man however highly gifted ever 
became master of the art without arduous study, and the diligent exercise 
of certain principles which we now attempt to unfold. The first essential 
we think in an effective speaker is the having the mind stored with 
general learning, and the faculties of judgment, perception, and reasoning, 
thoroughly trained, either by the exact and rigid demonstrations of ma- 
thematics, or by the skilled argumentation of mental philosophy or gene- 
ral science, which latter though indeed not so certain in conclusion 
yet presents courses of reasoning more in accordance with what is met in 
questions of daily life, where we neither apply axioms nor attain results 
by syllogisms. The wider a man's general knowledge, the more able is 
he to grapple with the subject which may incidentally occur, the more 
exact are his facts, and the more varied and telling his illustrations. 
Does he wish to use ornate language, and embellish his speech with the 
most fairly culled flowers of rhetoric 1 then let him read the standard 
prose writers, and revel among the gems of poetry with which English 


literature is studded. Is his knowledge of men and manners to be increased, 
and do his views, hampered perhaps by too monastic a course of reading, 
need expanding 1 let him apply himself to the novel and the drama, where 
is pourtrayed virtue in its surpassing loveliness, as well as vice in all its 
hideous deformity. Does he desire to make his diction remarkable at 
once for eloquence and classical taste 1 then let him ransack the works of 
the great orators present and past, and study their acute vigorous thoughts, 
their bold appeals, and with these their bewitching graces, and the polished 
brilliancy of their periods : if his knowledge of moral truth need refining, 
or if he wish to cultivate purity and vigour of language, as well as 
sublimity of style, then let him "search the scriptures," marking the 
figurative imagery of the prophets, let him turn over the pages of divine 
revelation and seek for a wisdom higher than human. So that if any one 
of us pant for the crown of a Cicero or a Burke, our task is endless : we 
may give the rein to our exertion, and plunge with unremitting toil 
amid the hoarded treasures of two hundred generations. The greatest 
orators have been renowned for their scholarship. Barrow and 
Chalmers were great in the mathematics ; Fox and Burke diligently 
through their lives read the classics, Erskine and Sheridan were earnest 
students, and Curran quoted Virgil by the hour ; Brougham, whose light 
has burned dim, had " encyclopaedic powers," not only taught in general 
literature, but was even thoroughly read in the higher mathematics, on 
which he has left publications, and Derby finds time, through all the 
fever and fret of political life, to write metrical translations of Homer. 
To have bereft these men of such propensities would not have rendered 
them more useful, but would only have robbed them as has been said, 
" of the silver baskets in which they displayed their apples of gold." 

There is no better method of acquiring eloquence and fluency of 
address, than to cultivate the habit of rapid and easy composition, a 
practice recommended both by Cicero de Oratore and Lord Brougham — 
no mean authorities. The man who writes laboriously will never speak 
fluently, and until he acquire a facility with the pen he will not speak 
extempore without great hesitancy. It may here be incidentally 
remarked, that a difficulty of composition should be no discouragement 
to the young beginner, as it rather shows a state of diffident dissatisfaction 
with one's efforts, which is a better indication than that easy state of 
self-satisfaction so characteristic of vanity, and which exercises so 
blightening an effect on all growth in the proper direction. The manu- 
scripts of Burke himself, a perfect master of English prose, were so 
underlined by corrections that his printer could with difficulty read them. 
It may be fairly questioned, whether a halting of speech and hesitancy of 
expression is at first a dubious sign of oratorical success ; it is usually 


attributed to a too tardy occurrence of idea, or to poverty of language, but 
may it not be from a superabundance of both word and thought 1 The 
rush of idea is so impetuous, and the array of words so perplexing, that the 
mind naturally hesitates as to which thought to marshal first, and in what 
words, from the vast vocabulary which presents itself, to clothe it, so that 
the difficulty is not one of occurrence but one of selection. . This may be 
thought paradoxical, but still it is worth enquiry. The easy, fluent 
speaker is not the one who always attains towering success as an orator : 
he is in danger of becoming so satisfied with himself that he suspends all 
labor, without which nothing great can be achieved, and, resting sated 
with the popular applause which his early efforts excite, he toils no 
longer, but becomes an intellectual Sybarite. 

Another most inportant aid to good speaking is an intimate knowledge 
of the subject, and furthermore to have a luminous arrangement of the 
material, to have as it were before the mind a chart of the journey, with 
the broad highway of illustration, allegory, and quotation, as well as the 
tortuous labyrinth of analysis and argument, clearly mapped out. With 
such a preparation the debater will be at the same time more ready and 
feel less constrained, than if he had prepared either too little or too much. 

The idea has become a common one, that the value of a speech is in 
an inverse proportion to the labor expended in its preparation, and it 
has become positively injurious to a speaker's reputation if it be known 
that his speeches cost him days and nights of careful thought and con- 
tinued elaboration ; hence we hear men, who ought to know better, 
chatter sagely about the " inspiration of the hour," " speaking on the 
spur of the moment," "despising the chains and tyranny of preparation," 
with many other such wise utterances. Now, we think we are safe in 
asserting that no orator ever based his claims for fame and immortality on 
extemporaneous harangues. Horace records the boast of Lucilius, a con- 
temporary poet, that he could write two hundred verses while standing on 
one leg, while he himself took weeks. But what was the difference ? The 
fame of the contemptible poet was ephemeral, while that of Horace was 
imperishable. Let us then be Horatii and not Lucilii. Bearing somewhat 
on this head an anecdote of the celebrated Tom Moore occurs : It seems 
Moore mentioned in the hearing of a scribbler of his day, that his Melodies, 
even after being written, were subjected for six months to the most care- 
ful polishing and repolishing. At this the man of mercurial pen laughed, 
and said he could in that time easily write whole volumes. " Ah !" said 
the great Irish Poet, " that may be, but such easy writing is excessively 
hard reading." The orators of antiquity gloried in the labors of the 
closet. We have all heard of Demosthenes being hooted off the Bema 
by the jeers of the turbulent demos , and in consequence his gigantic 


labors to overcome mental and physical defects, that have secured for 
him the unbounded admiration of all ages. Cicero, too, it has been said, 
rehearsed his most celebrated speeches, and so minutely studied the 
effect of their delivery, that on one occasion he was incapacitated from 
appearing against the wily Hortensius from the fatigue of his exhausting 
preparation. In modern times we read that the brilliant Sheridan wrote 
out passages, ami committed them to memory, ready to be spoken in their 
proper places, while Burke transcribed, and carefully studied many of his 
most celebrated speeches, and so did Curran. Lord Brougham, in his 
address to the Glasgow students, very pointedly says, "We may rest 
assured that the highest reaches of the art, and without any necessary 
sacrifice of natural effect, can only be attained by him who well considers, 
maturely prepares, and oftentimes sedulously corrects and refines his ora- 
tions." In further support of this, an extract from Mr. Ware, an 
American writer may be presented. " The history of the world is full 
of testimony to prove how much depends upon industry ; not an eminent 
orator who has lived but is an example of it. Yet, in contradiction to 
all this, the almost universal feeling appears to be, that industry can 
effect nothing, that eminence is the result of accident, and that every one 
must be content to remain just what he may happen to be. Thus, mul- 
titudes, who come forward as teachers and guides suffer themselves to be 
satisfied with the most indifferent attainments, and a miserable medi- 
ocrity, without so much as enquiring how they may rise higher, much 
less making any attempt to rise. For any other art they would serve 
an apprenticeship, and would be ashamed to practice it in public life be- 
fore they had learned it. If any one would sing, he attends a master, 
and is drilled in the very elementary principles ; and only after the 
most laborious process dares to exercise his voice in public. This he 
does, though he has scarce anything to learn but the mechanical execu- 
tion of what lie in sensible forms before the eye. But the extempore 
speaker who has to invent as well as to utter, to carry on an operation 
of the mind, as well as to produce sound, enters upon the work without 
pre|)aratory discipline, and then wonders that he fails ! If he were 
learning to play on the flute for public exhibition, what hours and days 
would he spend in giving facility to his fingers, and attaining the power 
of the sweetest and most expressive execution ! If he were devoting 
himself to the organ, what months and years would he labour, that he 
might know its compass, and be master of its keys, and be able to draw 
out, at will, all its various combinations of harmonious sound, and its 
full richness and delicacy of expression ! And yet he will fancy that the 
grandest, the most various, and the most expressive of all instruments, 
which the Infinite Creator has fashioned by the union of an intellectual 


soul with the powers of speech, may be played upon without study or 
practice ; he who comes to it a mere uninstructed tyro, and thinks to 
manage all its stops, and command the whole compass of its varied and 
comprehensive powers ! He finds himself a bungler in the attempt, is 
mortified at his failure, and settles in his mind for ever, that attempt is 

Yet in spite of all this, and a formidable array of other testimony 
which could be brought forward, we have [articulate-speaking men, who 
having discovered a short and easy bye-road to Olympus, which all 
previous deluded orators, toiling in the seclusion of their study, have 
overlooked, arise even amongst us, and with most unpardonable assur- 
ance, despising all previous preparation, utter a few vapid nothings, and 
then sit down again under the impression that every one else is lost in 
astonishment at the fluency and logical acuteness of an address which 
they have taken care to announce is entirely extemporaneous. When a 
young friend of mine, and one in many respects a very clever fellow, on 
a certain occasion, after exercising everybody's politeness and patience to 
the fullest extent by twenty minutes of his loquacious babblings, lisped out 
to me afterwards, that "he had really achieved a most difficult undertaking, 
for his speech, upon his word and honor, was quite extemporaneous," I 
mentally wished, like the surly Dr. Johnson, that the undertaking was 
not only difficult but impossible. But the tyro may say "suppose I do 
all this, disciplining my mind by extensive reading, composing frequently, 
and carefully preparing for each effort, and then if I fail V 

"FaiH" cried Armand de Richelieu, 
In the lexicon of youth, which Fate reserves 
For a bright manhood, there's no such word 
As fail ! " 

What is the first element of success in oratory 1 we answer " labour," 
and what the second element ? we say "labour," and what the third ? 
we still reply " labour." Let him, whose soul yearns for the laurel 
crown, wrestle stoutly with the stern goddess of Fame, even to the 
daybreak of another life, as the old patriarch with the angel, clutch her 
robe with nervous grasp, and let her not go until she bestow a blessing. 
He shall not be like the Titan who wooed a goddess * ' and clasped a 
cloud," but let him bear himself bravely, and wait : soon black-winged 
obscurity with chilling gloom will disenfold him, aud cradled in the 
white arms of Fame, with the motto " aut viam inveniam aut faciairi* 
emblazoned on his brow, he will straightway hear the hum of many 
voices, the loud roar of a myriad proclaiming, " Ol/to? 'Etfew/o? /" — 
" That is the man !" 



To delight the world for ages; to bid the great heart of humanity 
throb, and the cheek change tempestuously ; to wave the magician's wand 
and summon forth the shadowy forms of other days ; to enchant by 
conceptions where love and her sisters exercise their sway omnipotent 
and divine ; to bring wild joy to millions ■ to dispel the gloom tliat will 
at times settle down over eyes that fail with wakefulness and tears, and 
ache for the dark house and the long sleep ; to cheer the lone hours of 
the prison cell ; to commend a chalice which glads, but not intoxicates ; 
to brighten, but not enthral ; to exhibit splendour which dazzles not : — 
this is the difficult, and rare, and glorious power, vouchsafed by God to 
some of the children of men. These gifted sons of genius have not been 
confined to one age, to one clime, to one people. They found an appro- 
priate place in that fabled happy era which men call golden ; their utter- 
ances were heard ere the Sun-god was hymned in devout adoration ; or 
the shore? of the Mediterranean reechoed to the laments for Adonis 
i: when Greece was young;" and so they have rung on, at one time in 
Scio's rocky isle, fanned by the breezes of the ^Egean ; at another, in 
happy and opulent Athens ; or in lamed Parthenope, in ungrateful 
Florence, upon the banks of Avon; among the imaginative Ionians, the 
learned Athenians, the lordly Romans, the polished Italians, the gay 
Frenchmen, the profound Germans, the myriad-minded British — every- 
where, this all-compelling power has been ; every land has heard the 
strain, every age has bequeathed its own peculiar heritage to posterity. 
Who are these that stand so preeminently above their fellows, — often 
alone and aloof upon some cloud-capped pinnacle, — yet to* whose mys- 
terious influence all willingly bow ? What that strange agency which 
exerts such tremendous power over the destinies of nations and indi- 
viduals 1 What its origin ; the laws by which it is governed ; the 
accessories by which it is adorned ; the limits by which it is circum- 
scribed 1 They are the poets alone, and their divine creation, Poetry, 
we have now to contemplate ; and we approach the subject with the 
lowly reverence and faltering hope which becomes a fellow-suppliant at 
the Muses' shrine. 

The term Poetry has been frequently defined, and the number of 
definitions shows the difficulty of the attempt. It may not be improper 
here to give some of those that have been popular in their day, and that 


yet merit the attention of critics ; premising with the observation that 
the word poetry is from the Greek nroieo) which signifies " to make," 
"to create:" used, of course, in reference to the ideal world. The 
ancients defined poetry to be an imitative art, which definition, however 
true, does not meet the requirements of logic. It applies equally well 
to the sister arts of Painting and Sculpture ; and thus, for the purpose of 
distinction, is absolutely useless. It has this further objection, that it is 
too limited, for it excludes many departments of poetry such as the 
Lyrical, which is not imitative, but expressive. Again, poetry has been 
defined to be, the art of expressing our thoughts by fiction. 'Phis 
attempt is not much happier than that already quoted ; for while it 
would include the Novel and the Romance, it is scarcely applicable to 
poetry at all, except in the sense that in all high poetry the alchemy «>i 
the imagination transmutes all it touches into gold. Lord Jeffrey's defini 
tion contains much truth "The end of poetry," he says, " is to please; 
and the name, we think, is strictly applicable to every metrical composi- 
tion from which we derive pleasure without any laborious exercise of the 
understanding." But, as is known by the veriest tyro, in Belles Lettres 
metre is not the limit by which poetry is bounded : it is one of the 
adjuncts, — perhaps the most important adjunct ; but yet not the living 
principle. "Poetry," says Coleridge, "is not the proper antithesis to 
prose, but to science ; poetry is opposed to science, and prose to metre. 
The proper and immediate object of science is the requirement or the 
communication of truth — the proper and immediate object of poetry is 
the communication of immediate pleasure." Accepting this as true, 
which it unquestionably is, Lord Jeffrey's definition would include 
burlesque composition as seen in Homer's Batrachyomachia, or Aristo- 
phanes' treatment of Euripides, in the poems of Hood, Saxc, and 
numberless other instances. Is this strictly poetry 1 Modern critics 
have settled the question by declaring that the excitement of the ridi- 
culous is altogether of a different nature from that produced by poetry in 
the truest and highest sense of the term. Milton's testimony on this 
point is clear and indisputable. He affirms that poetry must be single, 
sensuous, and passionate. Many more definitions are at hand, but they 
include either too much or too little, and in the effort to be made concise 
they become obscure. Moreover, it does not appear necessary, after so 
much has been said by way of illustration, that a perfectly correct 
definition need be given on this occasion. Philosophers describe the 
nature of, and the laws that govern, a ray of light : but what light is, 
who can tell 1 May we not also, without defining it, speak of that 
celestial light vouchsafed by Apollo, the Sun-god which reveals the 
golden and inexhaustible mines of invention 1 


Poetry exists in some shape wherever man exists, and seems to be 
coeval with his creation. The lively imagination of the Greek, as has 
already been alluded to, declared its antiquity by symbolising it as the 
gift of Apollo, the God of the sun — doubtless meaning that it was, though 
" ever new and ever young " from the beginning, and like that sun would 
continue to shine on, dispensing its genial influence and enlightening 
power to the most distant lands, and to the most remote ages. It is also 
the first literature of all countries. Homer sang four hundred years 
before Cadmus of Miletus wrote the antiquities of his native city. The 
song of the Fratres Arvales was chaunted amid the light of antiquity : 
the Origines of Cato were written when Rome was made venerable by 
the flight of six hundred years : centuries intervened between the com- 
position of the Nibelungen Lied, and the translation of the Bible by 
Luther : and Caedmon was wrapt in vision more than six hundred years 
before Sir John Mandeville told of Gog and Magog. The reason of this 
apparent anomaly has been fully explained. The early literature of all 
countries is connected with its religion. The human mind in all ages 
has gone out for something beyond itself. Feeling no scepticism, tainted 
by no infidelity, assured of divinty ; men have deified all things in the vain 
hope that they might discover the Great First Cause. And when they 
would pour out their heartfelt gratitude in return for increasing herds, 
and a teeming vintage ; or pined away in their hearts at some grim pesti- 
lence or personal calamity, how could their language fail to be moulded 
by their excited feelings and their soul-felt, passionate expressions, to 
borrow rhythm and cadence and metrical arrangement from the dances 
which generally accompanied their oblations to deity ! Such, indeed, 
was its high origin, and this at once accounts for its universality. In the 
course of time, poetry becomes divested of its religious aspect, wholly or 
in part, and finally becomes a means of intellectual pleasure without a 
laborious exercise of the understanding. The nature of this pleasure is 
varied and complex. Poetry dazzles and astonishes us in the sublime 
workings of the imagination ; charms and delights us in the light play 
of the fancy ; conciliates and gratifies us in the sobriety and the solidity 
of the judgment ; pleases and instructs us by its truth fulness and morality ; 
lulls us to security and repose by the exhibition of painstaking and care; 
and binds us by the fascination and spell of the diction into which it is 
blended and interwoven. These faculties are all poetical, though widely 
different ; some of them more, and some of them less, essential to 
poetical pleasure : some less, and some more conspicuous in different 
poets, — all united in how few ! 

IMAGINATION holds the first rank in the essential qualifications of 
the true poet. In no case does the old adage Poeta nascitur non Jit, 


"The poet is born, not made," appears so apposite as in this. By dint 
of application a man may become learned ; by strict attention to the 
maxims of the schools he may write according to the principles of good 
taste and criticism ; nay, indeed, he may make short flights on "fancy's 
airy wing," but lacking imagination all his attempts at poetry, notwith- 
standing their regularity and symmetry, will be uninviting, tame, and 
lifeless. Imagination, then, is the soul of all true poetry. It is the 
ladder by which " the highest heaven of invention " is scaled. It indeed 
moulds the plastic wax, and bids the marble breathe ; but more than 
this, it peoples all time and all space with new and varied forms of being. 
Most strangely varied and complex are the operations of the imagination. 
It blazes forth in the high-wrought simile, and sheds a most brilliant 
light upon the context ; sparkles out in the bold and pleasing metaphor, 
and lights the way to the workshop of the poet's thoughts. Tt hurries 
us along on the wings of the tempest, crowding image upon image, linked 
by chains of thought, often to be found only in the mind of the poet 
himself; arrayed in language vehement, daring, elliptical ; language 
almost failing in its weakness to express the thick-coming fancies, as seen 
in the bards of the Bible, the Greek dramatists, and not unfrequently in 
Shakspeare. Then again, it loses its frenzy, and passion, and power ; 
becoming le«s awful, more subdued, and more tender ; calling around us 
like a kind genius, scenes of fairy gladness shining in mild splendour, 
wearing the aspect of intoxicating beauty, ravishing pleasure, and often 
tinged with the softest and faintest hues of melancholy. 

As has already been hinted at, Greece has been of all lands the most 
fertile in poetry • poetry that, while the fires upon her Hestia's altars 
have gone out, never more to be re-kindled : while her friezes and 
columns are crumbling to dust, while her olive trees no more yield the 
crown, the meed of mighty conquerors, poetry that is still omnipotent to 
charms, still triumphant "over Goth and Turk and Time" This is 
mainly due to the preserving fire of Hellenic imagination. The Greek 
could not but sing and sweep from the chords lofty and impassioned num- 
bers. For him, as writers tell us. the bluest of skies smiled over a land 
whose very atmosphere was inspiration itself. An unclouded sun bathed 
with the softest and mellowest light a thousand mountain peaks, and 
tinged with delicate dyes the islands and the shores of the /Egean, bright 
with the "many-twinkling smile of ocean." Did he rest his gaze upon the 
many-peaked Olympus 1 it was the abode of the Son of Saturn, the cloud- 
compelling Jove. Did he dream of poetry 1 was not Parnassus the very 
home of the Muses towering before him 1 Did he go down to the sea in 
ships 1 was it not the watery domain of the earth-shaking Neptune, and 
the tinsel- slippered Thetis 1 Did he roam the woods and glens ? Might 


he not catch a glimpse of Diana and her vestal train 1 Would he quaff 
from the fountain of Pieria, Hippocrenc, or Dirce ? might he not, per- 
chance, espy in its crystal depths the guardian deity of the stream 1 The 
sun that warmed him by day, the moon that shed its lustre upon him by 
night, he believed to be deities. The native land of the gods was his 
native land : consecrated by divinity where its streams, its forests, its 
groves, its hills ; and these were all his own. 

" Oh ! never rudely will I blame his faith 
In the might of stars and angels ! 'Tis not merely 
The human being's pride that peoples space 
With life and mystical predominance ; 
Since likewise for the stricken heart of love 
This visible nature, and this common world, 
Is all too narrow : yea, a deeper import 
Lurks in the legend told my infant years, 
Than lies upon that truth we live to learn. 
For fable is the poet's world, his house, his birth-place ; 
Delightedly dwells he 'mong fays and talismans, 
-And spirits ; and delightedly believes 
Divinities, being himself divine. 
The intelligible forms of ancient poets, 
The fair humanities of old religion, 
The power, the beauty, and the majesty 
That had their haunts in dale, or piny mountains 
Or forest, or by slow stream, or pebbly spring 
Or chasms and watery depths ; all these have vanished, 
They live no longer in the faith of reason ! 
]3ut still the heart doth need a language : still 
Doth the old instinct bring back the old names ; 
And to yon starry world they now are gone, 
Spirits or gods that used to share this earth 
With man as with their friend ; and to the poet 
Yonder they move, from yonder visible sky 
Shoot influence down ; and even at this day 
'Tis Jupiter who brings whate'er is great, 
And Venus who brings everything that's fair. 

Very intimately connected with imagination is Fancy ; and perhaps, 
few things have given metaphysicians so much trouble as to show clearly 
the distinction between the two faculties. " Fancy," it is said, " is given 
to beguile and quicken the temporal part of our nature ; imagination to 
incite and support the eternal." "The distinction between fancy and 
imagination" says another, "is simply that the former altogether changes 
and remodels the original idea impregnating it with something extraneous ; 
the latter leaves it undisturbed but associates it with things to which in 
some view or other it bears a resemblance." We shall not vouch for the 
metaphysical accuracy of these distinctions ; but at any rate, they serve 
to explain. It may be added that very frequently these faculties appear 


to glide into each other by insensible gradations and the distinction 
consequently to be lost. Fancy is colder, and weaker, and milder, than 
imagination, " It plays around the head but does not touch the heart." 
To borrow the simile of Longinus, applied however to a different purpose, 
imagination is the sun in his mid-day splendor and power, £mcy is that 
same sun at his setting still bright and beautiful but shorn of his beams. 
English Literature presents several excellent examples of the fanciful in 
poetry. Every one will call to mind the mock heroic-poem of Pope, the 
"Rape of the Lock," in which he develops the Rosicrucian theory that 
the elements are inhabited by spirits called sylphs, gnomes, nymphs, and 
salamanders. Who, also, that has read the " Tempest " can forget that 
unique creation of Shakspeare's genius which was ready 

"To fly, 
To swim, to dive into the fire, to ride 
On the curl'd clouds, 
Ariel and all his quality." 

He that remembers The Tempest will not fail in the Midsummer 
Night's Dream. Ten thousand thanks to Shakspeare for his Puck, for his 
Titania, for his Oberon ! Much as a description of these beautiful children 
of the fancy would aid this part of our essay and throw light upon this 
faculty, we dare not attempt it. Puck himself shall speak, not in the 
words of Shakspeare, but as is thought, in the words of a poet that loved 
Shakspeare. Three stanzas will do : — 

I. II. 

From Oberon, in fairy land, By wells and rills, in meadows green 

The king of ghosts and shadows there, We nightly dance our heyday guise, 

Mad Robin I, at his command, And to our fairy king and queen, 

Am sent to view the night-sports here, We chant our moonlight minstrelsies. 

What revel rout When larks 'gin sing 

Is kept about Away we fling ; 

In every corner where 1 go, And babes new-born, steal as we go ; 

I will o'ersee An elf in bed 

And merry be We leave instead, 

And make good sport with ho, ho, ho ! And wend us laughing ho, ho, ho ! 


From hag-bred Merlin's time have I, 

Thus nightly revelled to and fro ; 

And for my pranks, men call ine by, 

The name of Robin Ooodfellow. 

Fiends, gliosis and sprites, 

Who haunts the nights, 
The hags and goblins do me know ; 

And beldames old, 

My feats have told. 
Si) vale, vale ; ho, ho, bo .' 

Such are the creation of fancy ; such is fanciful poetry ! 


Pass we now to what deservedly holds what we may call the third place 
among the poetical faculties, Judgment. This faculty selects, arranges, 
and combines what is created by the imagination, and hence it plays a 
most essentia] part. • All the great poets have been distinguished by the 
strength and solidity of their judgment. Critics have noticed the perfect 
adaptation of parts in the Iliad and the Odyssey, the consistency of 
character, their individuality, the tact and skill that everywhere reign 
in these wonderful compositions. The same may be said of Dante, 
Milton, and Shakspeare, who were all sages as well as poets. Without 
the exercise of consummate judgment Homer could not have sketched the 
swift-footed Achilles, the man-slaying Hector, the all-beautiful Helen, or 
any of the other characters that shine so conspicuously in his works. 
Without judgment Dante had not passed into the City of Wo, into eter- 
nal pain, and read the dread inscription over the portals lofty arch — 

Lasciate ogni speranzavoi ch' entrato. 
All hope abandon ye who enter here. 

Without judgment Milton had not led the embattled Seraphim to war, 
and sustained " his high and stately tragedy, shutting up and inter- 
mingling her solemn scenes and acts with a seven-fold chorus of hallelujahs 
and harping symphonies." Hear his invocation to the muse : — 

" The mind through all her powers 
Irradiate ; there plant eyes, all mist from thence 
Purge and disperse that I may see and tell 
Of things invisible to mortal sight." 

Blind old Bard, all hail ! 'Twere weak, methinks, to pity thee rolling 
in vain thy quenched eye-balls to find a piercing ray, to find a dawn, for 
He that veiled them in dim suffusion infused fresh life and vigour into 
thy understanding, and nightly led thee to Sion and the flowery brooks 
beneath that wash her feet and warbling flow. All hail, ye too, 

"Blind Thamyris and blind Mseonides, 
And Tiresias and Phineas, prophets old !" 

In darkness ye sang, but so much grander and melodious was the strain 
which stirred with paroxysms of delight the hearts of men and women 
three thousand years ago, and which, to souls rightly attuned, brings joy 
no less wild to-day. Ever be it ours to listen to those lips that breathe 
the fragrance of wisdom and morality, and which teach the divine 
lessons of truth, and hope, and love, upon well-tuned lyres. 

The precepts of Horace upon this head of our subject, are, by the 
universal consent of mankind, most excellent ; and were we writing to 
be read and not to be listened to, many portions of his Satires and Epis- 
tles would be laid under contribution ; but where so many of you have 


already drunk deeply at this fountain of criticism, and so many more 
of you are soon to share the same pleasure, it seems superfluous to do 
more than acknowledge with all the world our gratitude for his uncom- 
promising demands for judgment in poetry, his frequent and prolonged 
tributes to close thought and common sense, his irritating satire upon 
those that have dubbed themselves poets without a shadow of claim to 
their impudent pretensions ; and to crown all, his generous guidance so 
freely and so kindly offered to those that feel within them the stirrings 
of immortal genius. 

Another necessity to produce this mental pleasure is Study. Minerva, 
indeed, is fabled to have sprung, full-armed, from the head of Jove ; but 
none upon whom she has deigned to smile can boast an advent so aus- 
picious. The laurel generally descends upon brows furrowed by lines of 
anxious thought, and the never-fading palm is held by hands that are 
often weary with the turning of the stylus. No voice comes from history to 
tell how many long years and sleepless nights and hungry days were 
spent in composing the Iliad and the Odyssey ; but we do know that the 
crown well-nigh has been snatched from Homer, because it was deemed 
that these poems were too mighty a task for one lifetime. Virgil em- 
ployed ten years in writing six books of the ^Eneid ; Milton spent seven 
years upon Paradise Lost ; Pope twelve in his translation of Homer, 
and Spenser three years upon the first three books of his Faery Queen. 
All that is durable in poetry, as in nature, is of slow growth. We all 
remember the beautiful allegory in one of our English Classics. A cer- 
tain curious observer is watching the progress of the limner's art. 
Among the many painters that beautify and adorn their tasks, is one 
very noiseless, but most assiduous workman called Time. Though he 
makes many a stroke, yet the effect is never seen until the strokes are 
infinitely repeated ; and then the light becomes more mellow, the shading 
more perfect, and the whole effect more beautiful. So is it with the 
poet-artist. He must have his work ever before him. He must con- 
stantly amend, retouch, and, if necessary, destroy. No one that has ever 
read even one book of the Georgics, in the original, will fail to see that 
a careful artist has been there. He will mark the profound acquain- 
tance with all that is lovely and beautiful in nature, will observe the 
multifarious learning, the perfect appropriateness of style to subject ; 
will often and again bend the listening ear to catch the melody of the 
numbers, and may, perhaps, conclude with Harvey, the Anatomist, that 
Virgil was possessed ! 

The poet that would succeed must give his days and nights to the 
study and contemplation of nature. She is his true Goddess. He must 
look abroad upon the visible and external cos7nos, and behold in it 


evidence of the highest art and the most consummate skill, the wildest 
and most impassioned expression of melody, and the deepest and most 
lasting truth. His. feet must be upon the mountains, his garments must 
be redolent of the dew and of the rose ; his eyes must gaze unceasingly 
upon the loveliness of earth and sky, and he must feel around him the 
blessed sunlight. Above all he must descend deep into his own soul, and 
the soul of all humanity, must make our thoughts his thoughts, must 
find a vent for the world's bursting heart, and strive to embody in words 
the inborn music of every breast. These realities, however, he must 
himself experience. They are not transferable. Unless he have the 
music in himself he will resemble a musical instrument with all the 
works complete save the chords. He would be no better than his pas- 
toral brother Des Guetaux, who haunted the lields for a whole season 
with a crook, a pipe, a sword, and the Court jacket invented as a badge 
of distinction by his master, Louis XIV., to qualify himself for writing 
naturally about sheep and shepherds ! Alas, for the world, if this were 
all that was necessary to make a poet ! 

The next necessary for the production of this poetical pleasure is 
Diction. Poetry in all languages has appropriated to herself a peculiar 
style and language. It is not the language of ordinary conversation, or of 
science, or of philosophy. It must be the language of excited feeling — 
glowing and passionate. It must rise to the dignity of the subject. 
In epic it must be stately and dignified, in dramatic it must be ready 
to assume all manners — solemn and impressive in tragedy, gay and 
sparkling in comedy, if comedy really be poetry ; also, in elegy sweet 
and plaintive ; in the lyric, 

" Rippling its liquid ebb and flow, 
Like the fall of fairy feet." 

It must be remembered that diction is not absolutely essential to true 
poetry ; and yet it is almost essential to genuine poetical pleasure. The 
highest, that is, the most imaginative and ideal poetry, without it, would 
scarcely ever be read. Much as we are charmed by beautiful thoughts, 
we are sometimes equally charmed by the felicitous style in which they 
are conveyed. 

" True wit is nature to advantage dressed, 
What oft was thought, but ne'er so well expressed. " 

A beautiful thought is a beautiful thought anywhere ; but, like the 
gem, its beauty is enhanced by the setting. There is a wonderful charm 
in appropriateness, and he is the most skilful poet that succeeds best in 
expressing his thoughts with the greatest beauty and felicity. Few poets 
are as popular as the author of the iEneid ; and yet critics tell us few 


authors have been so unhappy in their choice of a subject as he. We 
shall not stop to inquire into this failure, but, taking it for granted, we 
seek for the real excellence of the poem. It is unquestionably in the 
faultless beauty of the style, the grand but simple majesty that every- 
where pervades the poem, that gentle expression of melancholy, caught, 
as it were, from the cast of the hero's thoughts, and that exquisite finish, 
which fails not to captivate the attention of the school-boy, usually 
insensible to such charms, and to fascinate, also, the scholar of riper 
years. Hear Dante address him in the shades : — 

•' And art thou, then, that Virgil, that well-spring 
From which such copious floods of eloquence 

Have issued ] 

Glory and light of all the tuneful train, 

May it avail me that I long with zeal 

Have sought thy volume, and with love immense 

Have conn'd it o'er 1 My master thou, and guide ? 

Thou he from whom I have derived 

That style which for its beauty into fame 

Exalts me." 

There is no allusion here to invention or to fancy. His tribute is 
merely in reference to the style and eloquence of the Mantuan bard ; 
and it is upon these that his title to the homage of posterity principally 
rests. Can, then, any aspirant to the Muses' honors afford to neglect the 
charms which appropriateness, sweetness, dignity, finish, and elegance 
bestow 1 

There are many other qualities in addition to those already mentioned 
which, if they are not essential to the highest poetry, at least contribute 
very largely to secure some poets a place in public favor. Here it 
should be remarked, that mere popularity alone is not a reliable test for 
the excellence of poetry. It is a notorious fact that many bards, who 
never rise above mediocrity, have in their lifetime very comfortable 
quarters on Parnassus, while, in more than one instance, the real poet, 
the real genius, has been compelled to struggle for his daily bread in the 
plain below. John Milton sold the first edition of his " Paradise Lost" 
for five pounds, and five pounds more when thirteen hundred copies 
should be sold. In our own day, a certain Robert Montgomery has 
rejoiced in six or seven editions of his "Book of Poems," and has 

reaped golden dollars for his pains. It is interesting to know that 

Macaulay gibbeted him, not many years ago, in the Edinburgh Revieio, 
and for that one act Macaulay deserves the gratitude of all lovers of 
real poetry. Oh, that he had been spared to gibbet many more ! It is 
no part of our task to inquire into the cause of this popular caprice. 
It is enough to know that Fame is very difficult to woo, and still more 
difficult to keep when wod. 

" Then grieve not thou, to whom the indulgent muse 

Vouchsafes a portion of celestial fire : 
Nor blame the partial fates if they refuse 

The imperial banquet and the rich attire. 
Know thine own worth, and reverence the lyre. 

Wilt thou debase the heart which God refined 1 
No ! let thy heaven-taught soul to heaven aspire, 

To fancy, freedom, harmony, resigned ; 
Ambition's grovelling crew forever left behind. 

" Oh, how canst thou renounce the boundless [store 

Of charms which Nature to her votary yields ! 
The warbling woodland, the resounding shore, 

The pomp of groves, and garniture of fields ; 
All that the genial ray of morniDg gilds, 

And all that echoes to the song of even, 
And all the mountain's sheltering bosom shields, 

And all the dread magnificence of heaven ; 
Oh, how can'stthou renounce, and hope to be forgiven ? " 

One other of what may be called the subjective faculties of the poet 
will here be mentioned. A passing glance is all that can at present be 
bestowed upon it, and it is then left to your scholarship and your sym- 
pathy, and y owe fair criticism. This faculty is the expression of passion, 
sentiment, and pathos, qualities by far the most common in poetry, qua- 
lities that appeal to the great majority of mankind, qualities that #,11 pos- 
sess and all understand. All may not be gifted with lofty imaginations 
and brilliant fancies, or faculties for the perception and the cultivation of 
the beautiful in nature and art, but all alike are subject to the same pas- 
sions, the same hopes, the same fears. Here the poet to be successful 
must have not only a soul taking heed of all humanity, but also the art 
of expressing his congenial thoughts. The passion of love is the staple 
of innumerable bards. From the days of Sappho " violet-crowned, pure, 
sweetly-smiling Sappho •" from Anacreon, whose lyre, whatever was the 
poet's theme, or however he swept its chords sounded out love only 
from its strings ; from the days of chivalry, when the " Gay Science" was 
the honied lore of the pilgrim Troubadour, down to our own time when 
Moore and Burns sang the same great song — 

" The harp at nature's advent strung 
Has never ceased to play." 

Need we linger here ? Do not the innumerable editions of Anacreon, 
Petrarch, Waller, Moore, and Burns, softly impeach the heart of 
humanity 1 Who has not niched from such poets 1 

Another source of poetry is the belligerent passion, sad to say, so con- 
genial to the human heart. The Iliad derives much of its tremendous 
power from the exhibition of this passion. Sir Walter Scott is a very 
popular poet, but does not his popularity spring from the same source ? 


The lay of the Nibelungen is one long tale of blood and strife. The 
genius of Milton rises to its loftiest nights in the first two books of 
Paradise Lost, when he tells of 

Impious war in Heaven and battle proud. 

The image of war in Byron is thought to be one of the noblest crea- 
tions of poetry. The clash of arms, the nodding plumes of chivalry, the 
blood stain, has always kindled enthusiasm. The Lacedaemonians felt 
the full force of this power in poetry, when the Athenians sent them the 
bard Tyrtaeus instead of an auxiliary army. He roused their martial 
fury by his anapestic marches. He inspired them with enthusiastic and 
patriotic feelings, and animated them to fresh efforts against the foe. To 
their fainting hearts and sinking courage he brought victory ! 

The national songs of all countries breathe the same passion for arms. 
Listen to our own British Paeon : — 

The meteor flag of England 

Shall yet'terrific burn, 
Till danger's troubled night depart, 

And the star of peace return. 
Then, then, ye ocean warriors ! 

Our song and feast shall flow 
To the fame of our name, 

When the storm has ceased to blow ; 
When the fiery fight is heard no more, 

And the storm has ceased to blow ! 

To conclude this part of the subject we mention the passions of Self- 
love. This element when limited to lofty genius becomes a strangely 
fascinating power. Witness its display in Byron and Shelley, and in a 
milder form in Kirke White. They gratified the world with a descrip- 
tion of their own hearts — especially Byron. He bared his bosom and 
exhibited his sufferings, his attachments, his misanthropy, his scepticism 
to all the world. The putrid carcase of his follies, and sins, and ruined 
hope ; he dragged into the sunlight and held the face of mankind steadily 
toward it. What other men took the greatest pains to conceal, it was 
his greatest pleasure to expose. Was the world disgusted at the yight 1 
Far otherwise. " He touched his harp, and nations heard entranced. 
He went to bed one night unknown, in the morning he " woke Up and 
found himself famous." So popular was he that Murray could pay him 
£2,100 for a single canto of " Childe Harold," and gain largely by the 
transaction. There is nothing like it in the whole range of literature ; 
and yet, in spite of their grandeur, power, and loveliness, there is a dark, 
gloomy, and wicked spirit lurking in many of his compositions, and that 
spirit is Byron himself. Most sad, most lamentable, most deplorable, 
but most true. And yet his genius is, and ever will be, one of the chief 


glories of the nineteenth century. But this display of self-love requires 
consummate genius to make it successful. Scarcely had Byron passed away 
when a race .of imitators sprang up who complained of imaginary w5es, 
who wandered alone, and ever and anon spoke of suicide ; they scorned 
their fellowman as ordinary clay, and exposed their bleeding hearts, 
which, however, did not bleed, but they only made themselves ridiculous 
and contemptible. The bow of Ulysses is not for childish hands. 
'Twere better to take Horace's advice to play at even and odd, to ride 
on a long pole, to join mice to a waggon, than to write such poetry. 

.ZEdificare casas, plostello adjungere mures, 
Luclere par impar, equitare in arundine longa. 

The objective faculties such as the dramatic, the descriptive, the 
didactic, each play an important part in poetry ; but rather than speak of 
them in a hurried and contracted manner, they are dismissed for the 
present. The mechanical parts, such as metre, rhythm, and rhyme, hold 
but a secondary rank in the essentials of genuine poetry. Were it not 
that metre and rhyme are constantly mistaken for poetry, there would be 
no necessity for this observation. Rhyme is of historical importance as 
showing one grand distinction between the external characteristics of 
ancient and modern poetry. Metre is at all times an important thing in 
assisting the diction, and in describing particular kinds of poetry, but 
they do not in any way constitute genuine poetry. They appear to be 
but a by-product of the poet's alchemy. His thoughts fall unnoticed by 
him into melody. Rhyme and metre come to him with voluntary aid. 
What appears to us to be the highest art, is to him but his own habits 
of thought and feeling put into definite shape. He does not spend his 
time in tagging rhymes and badgering with longs and shorts. The man 
that invented and published the first rhyming dictionary has much to 
answer for. He is the c.-iuse of much blotted paper and wasted ink. 
He has in no way assisted poetry. The great poet scorns, and does 
not need his profferred assistance. The little, mean, beggarly poet- 
aster filches from him without a word of recognition or a smile of favour. 
He is a man whose acquaintance everybody hastens to deny. His book 
is one of the books to be locked away in the strong box. That man who 
has one in his possession is a dangerous character, and has designs upon 
the peace and comfort of society. Shun him. 

The mechanical parts of poetry have thus been spoken of, because 
without genius they are but mere motion and empty sound. When 
added to genius they aid and adorn poetry, and in this capacity deserve 
to be patiently and critically studied. 

Hitherto our remarks have been solely in reference to poetry as found 
on the printed page, or heard from lips that i( voluntarily move harmonious 


numbers." But there is a poetry which, though not written in the 
letters that Cadmus gave, are written in letters visible to the tutored 
eye : a poetry that, though silent, addresses us in the most persuasive 
accents : a poetry that, though it appeals not to the common brotherhood 
that unites all men, points us to a higher and far more enduring sym- 
pathy, — the Poem of the great Tioi^rr)^ — The Creator. The sun and 
all the solar system circling in their grand and awful beauty and har- 
mony amid the illimitable fields of space ; the far reaching extent of 
ocean with its innumerable forms of life and activity ; the varied aspect 
of forest, field, and shore ; the towering mountain and the boundless 
desert ; the light, the air, nay,— the smallest leaf, the tiniest flower and 
the most insignificant animal, if properly contemplated, will give rise to 
emotions and aspirations infinitely more poetical than ever Homer 
awakened or Milton could bequeath ! In this sense we all are poets, 
aud we draw our inspiration from a nobler source than the fabled divin- 
ities of the Pierian spring. It was in this sense that a poet said : 

Many are the poets who have never penn'd 
Their inspiration, and perchance the best. 
They felt, and loved, and died, but would not lend 

Their thoughts to meaner things; they compress'd 
The god within them, and rejoined the stars 
Unlaurell'd upon earth, but far more blest 

Than those who are degraded by the jars 

Of passion, and their frailties link'd to fame, 
Conquerors of high renown, but full of scars. " 

There are great eras in the history of poetry, as well as great eras in 
the history of nations. The age of Pericles in Athens, the reign of 
Augustus in Rome, of the Medici in Italy, of Queen Elizabeth, of 
Queen Anne, aud of the later Georges in England, are all golden epochs 
in the mild and benignant sway of the rods of Helicon and Parnassus. 
Poetry ever Keeps pace with national freedom and prosperity. She 
stands by the cradle of the nation and with prophetic eye beholds its 
future greatness, attends- with a lofty pajan as that greatness is consum- 
mated, and when in the inevitable round of time the empire sinks to 
decay, poetry is there to breathe a low, soft, requiem over departed 
power and worth. Seldom does the lyre sound where war's clarion 
is heard. Poetry thrives best amid scenes of contentment, in quiet 
and flourishing times, when eommerce and the arts bring wealth, 
and when wealth engenders comfort and repose. The poet must be 
calm and contented, no!, harrasaed by care, nor distracted by turmoil j 
not overcast with the clouds of melancholy, nor shaken by the storms 


of adversity. Like the halcyon bird of fable, the sea must be calm and 
the air tranquil before the nest be built. 

" Hunc, qualem nequeo monstrare etsentio tan turn 
Anxietate carens animixs facit, omnis acerbi 
Impatiens, cupidus silvarum aptusque bibendis 
Fontibus Aonidum. Neque enim cantare sub antro 
Pierio thyrsumve potest contingere moesta 
Paupertas atque aeris inops, quo nocte dieque 
Corpus eget." 

Beautiful and ennobling as poesy really is, it must by no means usurp 
the place of the solid and the real. It is but a resting-place on the 
rugged highway of life, where we may take pleasure, but where more 
important considerations do not allow us to tarry long. The mind that 
feeds wholly upon poetry, and leaves aside the strong meats of philosophy 
and history, will inevitably become feeble and diseased, without strength, 
without symmetry, without activity. Poetry must come when the mind 
is jaded by the real work of life, — when science lays by her investi- 
gations, when business seeks a moment of relaxation ; when the heart 
needs a language, then poetry must come and assume her rightful power. 
Most beautifully, most appropriately, most eloquently, does Cicero, 
throughout the whole course of his oration for the poet Archias, speak 
for poetry. He calls it no less than divine. Rocks and deserts respond 
to the voice of the bard ; wild beasts are swayed by, and often stand 
motionless beneath the power of his song. " Shall not we," he exclaims, 
" who have enjoyed the best education, be moved by the minstrel's lay?" 
And again : Nam ceterae, neque temporum sunt, neque aetatum omnium, 
neque locorum ; hcec studia adolescentiam alunt senectutem oblectant, 
secundas res ornant, adversis perfugium ac solatium prmbent, delectant 
domi, non impediunt /oris, pernoctant nobiscum, peregrinantur, rusti- 
cantur. "For other mental employments do not suit all occasions nor 
all periods of life, nor all places ; these pursuits foster our youth, they 
cheer our old age, they adorn prosperity, they afford a refuge and solace 
to adversity, they impart gratification at home, they embarrass not abroad, 
they are with us during the vigils of the night, they roam with us in 
foreign lands, they are our companions amid the retirement of rural 

There is one thought more which has been our constant companion 
since the first page of this essay was written, and we shall not rudely 
dismiss it now. It is our own Canadian Poetry, and especially of our 
own University. The wanderer in distant lands, the pleasure-seeker, 
the man of science, the poet too, still climb the hill of Pausilippo to be 
hold the spot where the ashes of Virgil repose : the dust of Petrarch, 


nay, the very chair in which he died are kept with the greatest venera- 
tion at Arqua. Ravenna is glorious because her immortal foster-son 
Dante Bleeps his last sleep within her walls : to Stratford-upon-Avon 
thousands yearly throng to linger fondly round Shakspeare's tomb ; and 
the whole civilized world stands in mute sorrow at the Poets' Corner, 
in Westminster Abbey. Oxford claims Chaucer, and points to her glo- 
rious roll of bards, among whom shine Drayton, Lyly, Peele, Sir Philip 
Sidney, Otway, Addison, Young, Collins, Southey, Shelley, and many 
more. Cambridge also claims Chaucer, and glories in the fame of Spen- 
ser, Fletcher, Greene and Marlow, "rare Ben Johnson," Cowley, Milton, 
Dryden, Cay, Kirke White, Wordsworth, Coleridge, Byron and Tenny- 
son ; and are they not a noble band % — who shall refuse to bow before the 
majesty of their genius 1 We, too, who speak the same language as that 
jn which they wrote, and as forming part of that empire upon whose his- 
tory they have shed so much lustre, are proud of their lofty position in 
the great commonwealth of letters ; but turning to what concerns us 
now, to our own native land, we see here no pilgrims from far-off countries, 
nor storied urn, nor animated bust, no nations swelling heart pay- 
ing homage at the minstrel's tomb. Nor could it be otherwise. No long 
line of learning-loving potentates, no munificent patrons, no triumphs of 
a thousand years have combined to woo the muses from their Eastern 
clime to dwell among us in the West. A few faint notes, struck as it 
were " 'twixt hope and fear," have reached our ears, then trembled into 
silence as before, all the more sweet because in some cases, at least, we 
recognized the hand that swept the chords. But the full burst of har- 
mony, the grand author of poetry is yet to come. A new era has just 
dawned upon our country. The Dominion of Canada, rich in agricul- 
tural, in commercial, in mineral wealth, rich in liberty, rich in learning, 
rich in its inspiration, has lately stepped on the stage of history, and all 
things promise a long, a happy, and a brilliant scene. As Milton said 
of England ''methinks I see in my mind a noble and puissant nation 
rousing herself like a strong man after sleep, and shaking her invincible 
locks : Methinks I see her as an eagle renewing her mighty youth and 
kindling her undazzled eyes at the full mid-day beam ; purging and un- 
sealing her long abused sight at the fountain itself of heavenly radiance : 
while the whole noise of timorous and nocking birds, with those also 
that love the twilight, nutter about, amazed at what she means." When 
this bright vision shall be realised, when the young Dominion of to- 
day shall become strong and vigorous through years, when peace and 
prosperity, fostered by the hand of freedom, shall exalt this nation, 
when this temple of learning can point to a long line of illustrious wor- 
shippers, then poetry in native loveliness shall shed her mild and be- 


nignant influence over our children's children, while perchance for every 
age some member of University College Literary and Scientific Society 
shall stand the chosen high-priest at the Muses' shrine. 

" Poets shall follow in the path I show 
And make it broader : the same brilliant sky 
Which cheers the birds to song will bid them glow 
And raise the voice as natural and high, 
Tuneful shall be their numbers, they shall sing, 
Many of Love, and some of Liberty." 


Prominent among the institutions connected with the University is 
the Rifle Company, which, like the other Volunteer corps of the Pro- 
vince, owes its origin to the celebrated "Trent" affair. When the 
seizure of the Southern Commissioners, by the United States authorities, 
on a British mail steamer, and the subsequent demand for their surren- 
der, and an apology for the insult to the flag of England, gave indications 
of a disruption of th e friendly feeling which had up to that time existed 
between the two countries, it was evident that, in the event of hostilities, 
Canada would be the battle ground. It was not to be expected that 
the people of this country would remain inactive spectators of the 
struggle which then appeared imminent, and our Government accord- 
ingly resolved to raise a force, which, while proving the willingness 
of Canadians to defend their homes, would display at the same time 
the fact that, as part of the British Empire, they personally felt the 
indignity offered to the nation. As has always been the case in similar 
circumstances, it needed but an appeal to the people to insure voluntary 
enlistment in all parts of the Province. Companies were raised and 
equipped in the principal cities and towns throughout the country, 
and, as her contribution to the common cause, our University offered 
the " Rifle Corps." 

Happily the good sense of the representatives of the two countries 
succeeded in averting the calamities of war. The surrender of Mason 
and Slidell, and an apology, completely satisfied the honor of Britain, 
while doubtless the better class of the people of the Northern States did 
not consider this reparation as lowering to their national dignity, regard- 
ing the conduct of Captain Wilkes as the result of a mistaken idea as 
to his powers and duty. 

It did not follow, however, that our Volunteer system should collapse 
when the apprehended danger was removed which gave it birth. The 
Government, alive to the chance of a future necessity, did not see fit to 
disband such a well-armed, creditably disciplined, and eminently loyal 
body of citizen soldiery, and has consequently continued to encourage 
the system to such an extent that every year is adding to the efficiency 
of the Volunteer force. 


We must not forget that to the pioneers in this movement, volunteer- 
ing presented a much greater reality than to those of more recent date. 
The ranks were not filled up by men joining for the mere novelty of 
"playing at soldier." It was fully expected that the position which 
they assumed as defenders of the country would not be a nominal one. 
Each man knew that when enrolled he was liable at any time to be called 
on to prove the depth of his loyalty on the field, and that his service as 
an active militia-man, in all probability, would not be confined to the 
exhibition of a glittering sword-belt, or well-fitting uniform to the 
admiring gaze of his fellow citizens. There was a difference also in 
regard to their equipment, each recruit being obliged to furnish his own 
outfit, besides contributing liberally to the support of his company , 
receiving nothing but his rifle and ammunition at the hands of the 
Government. Our business, however, is more particularly with the 
" University Rifles " and events in its history. 

The spirit which pervaded all classes of the community at the time to 
which we have referred, extended of course to the University. A very 
enthusiastic meeting was held at the close of the Michaelmas Terminal 
Examinations of 1861, at which all Academic distinction was for the 
time laid aside, and Professors, Dons, and Undergraduates, animated 
with the same patriotic feelings, met to consider the best means of 
representing the College in the general movement. It was decided to 
raise a Company among the members of the University, and a call was 
made for volunteers, which met a hearty and unanimous response. The 
election of officers resulted in the choice of Professor Croft as Captain, 
Professor Cherriman as Lieutenant, and Adam Crooks, Esq., Q.C., an 
old graduate, as Ensign, and drill was immediately commenced, many of 
the Professors taking their places in the ranks with all the dignity of 
full privates, evincing a most laudable desire to reconcile their charac- 
teristic propriety with the mistakes inevitable to recruits, and practically 
illustrating the fact that a man may be deeply read in classics, infallible 
in mathematics, profound in history, or eminently skilled in metaphysics, 
and yet acquire at his first few drills but a faint idea of the precision 
necessary to a proper execution of the preliminary part of the perform- 
ance, vulgarly known as the " goose-step," while he remains in blissful 
ignorance of the vast mass of military knowledge yet to be acquired in 
the shape of "fours" and "squares," "marching" and "counter- 
marching," "open columns " and " columns en masse" 

The Company was attached as No. 9 to the "Queen's Own," one of 
the regiments raised by the citizens of Toronto, and, availing themselves 
of the kindness of the Brigade-Major, Colonel Denison, who allowed 
them the use of the "Denison Range," began their rifle practice, in 


course of time engaging in several friendly contests with " teams " from 
other Companies. The first of these was in June, 1864, when victories 
were secured over No. 2, "The Merchants," and No. 10, " The High- 
landers," a return match with the former also resulting in favour of 
No. 0. In the latter part of the same year, a battalion being ordered 
to the front, the " University Rifles " contributed six men. 

The retirement of Mr. Crooks, in 1865, necessitating the election of an 
Ensign, Sergeant W. C. Campbell was chosen to the vacancy, and shortly 
afterwards two rifle contests with the Civil Service Company of Quebec 
were both decided in favour of the " team" from No. 9, though it only 
succeeded in carrying off the second prize at Hamilton in the following 

• In the latter part of the same year, another Fenian raid being antici- 
patedj the Government again ordered out a battalion for frontier service, 
two Companies being allotted to be furnished by the " Queen's Own," to 
which No. 9 contributed ten men, including Ensign Campbell. They 
were stationed, during the following winter, at Sarnia, where they had 
an opportunity of thoroughly becoming acquainted with the duties of 
a soldier, experiencing the hardships and privations as well as the bright 
side of camp life, while the reminiscences of the barrack-room furnished 
material for many an anecdote when their "soldiering was o'er." and 
they had again become " mere civilians." They returned to Toronto 
after a four months' absence, leaving Ensign Campbell, who exchanged 
into a Company remaining on the front. 

It was in the middle of the examinations at the close of the academic 
year \865-6, that the invasion of Canada by the Fenians necessitated a 
general call on the volunteers of the country. Not only were the then 
existing batallions placed on a war footing, but new ones sprang up within 
a few days in every part of the Province, to such an extent that the 
Government was, in many instances, obliged to refuse their services. 
Term being almost over, the greater number of the men of the " Univer- 
sity Rifles " had left Toronto, yet, as a few remained, it was thought 
proper to fill up the Company as far as possible, and offer its services to 
the Government. This was accordingly done, and No. 9, consisting of 
twenty-eight rank and file and three sergeants, resumed its old place in 
the " Queen's Own," and participated in the action at Ridgeway, occupy- 
ing, during the engagement, an advanced position on the right of the 
line of skirmishers. The Company had to deplore the loss of three of its 
number killed, Privates Mewburn, McKenzie, and Tempest ; four 
wounded, Privates Vandersmissen, Kingsford, Paul, and Patterson, and 
two prisoners, Corporal Ellis and Private Junor ; a total of nine, being 
nearly one-third of its number, and about one-half of the whole loss of 


the regiment. The next day the force proceeded to Fort Erie and thence 
to Stratford, where it lay for two weeks, and was then ordered to Toronto, 
and relieved from active service. 

Ensign Campbell having withdrawn from the Comj^any, Corporal Ellis 
was unanimously elected to succeed him, and in the year following 
Captain Croft, their energetic and popular Commander retired with the 
rank of Major, having completed his full term of five years' service. He 
had always been most untiring in his efforts to maintain a high degree of 
etliciency in the drill of the Company, and his great popularity enabled 
him to preserve the esprit de Corps which, among volunteers, is abso- 
lutely indispensable. Though his more intimate connection with the 
Company has thus been severed, he still continues his exertions in its 
behalf, in every way which his long experience as a volunteer Officer can 
suggest. On taking leave of the men he had so well commanded, he was 
a second time made the recipient at their hands of a handsome testimonial 
accompanied by a most flattering address. The " University Rifles " 
can however congratulate themselves on having as his successor such an 
efficient and respected officer as their present Captain, Professor Cherri- 
man, and under his direction the Company promises to lose nothing of its 
former prestige. On the retirement of Major Croft, Corporal Delamere 
was appointed Ensign, having been attached for some time previously. 

We have thus briefly touched on a few of the events in the history of 
the ''University Rifles." Much more might be written on the subject, 
for it is one in which University men feel a peculiar interest. There are 
many things connected with our College life on which we can reflect with 
pleasure ; and, if there be a reverse side to the picture, it is, at the worst, 
not very dark. When our undergraduate course is over, and we have 
gone out into the world, we love to talk of the days spent under the 
fostering care of our " gentle mother." It is pleasant to refresh our 
memories on incidents connected with Examinations, and Convocations, 
Literary Society meetings, and Conversaziones ; not forgetting Associa- 
tion dinners, and Degree suppers ; and we generally conclude with the 
reflection that, take them for all and all, those were our best and happiest 
days ; but perhaps the most agreeable of these reminiscences are con- 
nected with the Rifle Company. With what interest have we looked for- 
ward to the day when our " Team " was to measure its strength with the 
representatives of other companies, and how we have canvassed the pro- 
bable chances of success or defeat. How we relished a good lon«- route 
march, to the inspiriting music of the regimental band, while our own 
fifes and drums filled up the interludes with a harmony peculiar to them- 
selves ; the performance being none the less appreciated because the fifes 
were generally extemporized and the drums not exactly of the regulation 


pattern. And in the few instances when active service gave more of 
stern reality to our position, have we not felt a pardonable pride in the 
thought that to us, and to our brethren in arms, the country looked for 
protection, reposing, in our hands, the guardianship of her honour, and 
her liberties 1 

We may be pardoned if we say a parting word to present under- 
graduates. Do not think it a trifling with time, or a subject too insig- 
nificant for your attention, to spend an hour each week in acquiring a 
knowledge of the use of arms. It will not only afford you a pleasant 
and healthful recreation when wearied with the almost incessant brain 
work required of a University man, but, placing it on higher grounds, 
it will all the better fit you in time of necessity to throw in your mite 
in defence of a country, of which our " Alma Mater " is the national 


One of the most interesting subjects to which a philosopher can turn 
his attention is the study of man — a study, it is true, of considerable 
difficulty, yet one to which every person may devote himself if he chooses, 
carrying as he does a specimen about with him everywhere. 

The noblest work of the Creator on earth, man surely ought not to 
be beneath the attention of a reason that spends its powers on the 
meanest insects peopling the most retired spots in this our planet. Nor 
do we find that he has been altogether neglected. Indeed, almost every 
philosopher ever since Thales, who took for his motto the celebrated 
yvco6t creaviov, has had something to say about man in general, or 
about himself in particular. A whole family of sciences have the human 
animal for their subject. Anatomy, Physiology, and others, are con* 
cerned about his body. Psychology investigates the character of his 
mind, while History, Moral Science, and Ethnology, the child of the 
nineteenth century, treat of him and of his actions. 

To have a friend is to know a man, and to know a man is to have 
studied his character. It is not in the quiet and calmness of the study 
chamber, or when sitting by the fireside, silent or alone, that the true 
features of character betray themselves ; but it is in the hurry, the 
bustle, the turmoil of a busy, active existence, that we see the man. 
Then we can discern whether his be an upright, virtuous, and noble 
character that may command our admiration and respect, or whether 
his be such a nature as repels us, and fills us with contempt and aver- 
sion. But while we seem to form our estimates of men from their 
actions, it is not these alone that we must consider. We must go deeper 
into the hidden recesses of the heart, and find out, or at least conjecture, 
the motives that led to them, — the secret spring that sets the whole in 
motion. These motives are not one, or two, but many — now one, now 
another ; some or all of them influencing and actuating every individual 
of the human race. 

It would be a task too comprehensive, and one to which I feel myselt 
very unequal, to trace out and examine the different and various motives 
that incite men to action, that spur them on to make efforts that would 
astonish a Hercules and make a Milo stand in awe. However, there is 


0110 which seems to be more powerful, more universal, and more com- 
plicated than the others, viz., that eager desire of distinction and whal 
confers it, which we denominate Ambition. 

Perhaps few words in our language are used to express so many shades 
of meaning as this. It includes the desire for almost everything thai 
can excite the human mind to leave the beaten track of a monotonous, 
uneventful existence, to seek pre-eminence ; every gradation of intensity 
from the faint wish but half formed to the towering passion that bends 
the course of great men of gigantic intellects ; — very different degrees oJ 
the same affection of the human mind from its laudable original principle 
to its immoral or criminal excess, whether after objects that are praise- 
worthy and good or that are base and contemptible. But in every part 
of this vast labyrinth, there is one idea which pervades all, and connects 
them, and that is, the desire of distinction. We desire wealth, power, 
knowledge, science, fame, honor ; but we do so partially, if not wholly, 
because they gain for us distinction and a name. 

It seems to be somewhat difficult to give any clear and satisfactory 
account of the origin of this desire, which is so general that I think it 
may safely be said that there is no one but has an ambition for some- 
thing. It is a usual thing with philosophers who treat of matters of 
this kind, whenever they find anything belonging to man universally, 
and wherever found, to consider, it as natural, or innate. There seems 
to be no valid reason for disputing such a conclusion in the present 
instance, since the universality of it cannot be denied. For where is 
the man whose mind is not moved by some faint desire of power, honor, 
or distinction of some sort ; whose conduct betrays no trace of something 
that seems to urge him on to the attainment of some grand object of 
life ; from whose soul breathes no aspiration for something higher and 
nobler, who drags out an aimless existence that points to nothing ? 
Every one may not desire these so intensely as to sacrifice happiness to 
attain them ; but the desire exists in every breast. If but few rise 
above mediocrity, it is not generally for want of ambition, but rather 
of some material to render it effective ; for ambition, though a powerful 
stimulus to action, though it may teach us to overlook mountains of 
difficulties, and to scorn what others consider serious, yet, however strong 
and grasping it may be, can never make a man truly great unless there 
is in connection with it a liberal share of ability. Imagine, if possible, 
a being entirely destitute of this desire, and the universality of it becomes 
immediately apparent. Suppose he is unmoved by any craving for wealth 
and knowledge, blind to the charms of honor and fame, destitute of any 
respect for the opinions of others, and what have we 1 Is not this being 
also destitute of the human nature, and something different from man 1 


We sometimes, indeed, find men who profess the greatest contempt for 
distinction, who pay little regard to the opinions of others, and, with 
firm confidence in themselves, take a course, perhaps intentionally, con- 
trary to that prescribed by the universal feeling of their fellows. But 
such characters are rare, and probably in this we have the true secret 
of the affair — this is only their way of distinguishing themselves. 

On looking about among those around us, we cannot fail to perceive 
the different effects of this motive in different individuals. One man we 
find pursuing his grand object, whatever it may be, with unflagging 
earnestness and untiring energy ; another is seen sitting in listless indo- 
lence, devoutly wishing that some chance would bring within his reach 
that which he most desires. The one ceases not until his end is gained ; 
the other stops in words, resolves much, attempts little, and accomplishes 
less. This points us to a difference in the strength of the desire, as well 
as a difference in strength of mind and purpose, which difference is partly 
natural and partly acquired ; for ambition, like any other passion, in- 
creases by gratification, as may be seen by watching it in some of the 
forms in which it exhibits itself. The sweets of power intoxicate 
the possessor, and spur him on to increase it, else Alexander or 
Cassar would never have conquered the world, nor Napoleon contended 
for universal dominion. Avarice, which is only one of its many forms, 
gradually enthralls the mind, until the miser's gold is his heaven. An 
author writes first to earn a livelihood, and then for fame. The sculp- 
tor, as he progresses, wishes more and more to leave the marks of his 
chisel on masterpieces that will command the admiration of future ages. 

This motive to action manifests itself in a great many curious and 
important ways, some of which may perhaps not seem traceable to it at 
first sight. Here, again, I would repeat that ambition means not merely 
a love of power, but a love of distinction of any sort. It is true that 
the idea of power enters into many of the ways in which we court 
distinction, but not into all. Anything that raises us above our fellows, 
anything that gives us pre-eminence, is or may be an object of ambition. 
Nor is it in vain that such a feeing has been given us. Its effects are 
beyond all computation. We see around us, in all the walks of life, 
men who are impelled by it to make superhuman efforts to gain the 
darling objects of their lives, giving energy to all their actions, and life 
to all their undertakings. The love of power affects even the boy in his 
pastimes ; for when he throws a stone or flies a kite, he is pleased at 
being able to govern the stone and the kite, and at producing effects 
with the smallest possible exertion. But while this gives him pleasure, 
what a mortification is it to him to fail, since then his ambition is 


Men in every condition would wish that others were under their 
power, and take means to make their wish a reality. The statesman 
strives to be a ruler, and leaves no legitimate means untried to raise 
himself to those high and responsible offices in the state that enable him 
to lord it over nations. It seems to be a desirable thing, nay, even a 
necessary thing, that it should be the ambition of some to fill the legis- 
lative halls, the cabinets, and the bench, to consult for the weal of the 
people, and to protect them in their rights : in a word, to make laws 
and to administer them. And so it is and has been in every nation, and 
under every form of government. It is not because it is so easy to be a 
statesman that we have so many candidates for political honors, but 
because the prize of power excites the ambition of many great and com- 
prehensive intellects as well as of many narrow-minded one-sided political 
amateurs, whose heads are turned by the reward, but whose abilities are 
only high enough to lose it. 

But the same wise Providence that makes us ambitious, has made 
other objects than the statesman's power desirable to the human mind- 
We ; as members of this Society, turn our attention, partially at least, 
to the acquirement of that gigantic power of the finished orator that 
moves the masses, that applies the torch of eloquence to the dormant 
passions of the soul, and makes him, without the aid of force or the 
splendour of rank, the arbiter of the fate of nations. This surely is a 
power worthy to be the achievement of the ambition and labor of a life- 
time. Every one naturally desires to be able to express his thoughts, at 
the same time, clearly and with feeling ; but it is a point of perfection 
to which but few attain, and hence the love of fame is an additional 
inducement to stimulate us in our endeavours to acquire a power which 
is as rare as it is potent. 

Knowledge of itself has a strong charm for the mind, and seems to 
have a natural fitness for it ; and for that very reason we should most 
likely seek it. But it is the remark of a great Englishman that " Know- 
ledge is power ; " and hence we have the love of power as an auxiliary 
to our desire of knowledge in encouraging us to acquire it. Every 
general conclusion places at our command a large stock of knowledge, 
and a great array of particular facts and truths ; and, accordingly, every 
generalization gratifies our desire of power. The natural philosopher 
pries into nature and discovers her secrets only to turn them to his own 
ends, and make her his slave. We cannot point to any time, least of all 
to our own, in which every nation is willing to undergo' enormous ex- 
pense to secure good educational advantages, nor to any country in which 
the desire of knowledge is not something that belongs to every individual 
in it. There is something in knowledge that attracts and pleases the 


human mind of itself, but, in addition to that, it confers distinction on 
the possessor, when it exceeds that of the commonalty, and secures to 
him the respect of his inferiors. Hence it seems to be the case that the 
higher branches of science are studied often because proficiency in them 
gives superiority, and entitles the scholar to the regard of others. How 
often do we find it happen among ourselves that persons are determined 
to the special study of some science because there seems a reasonable 
chance for immediate success and triumph over competition. 

In all barbarous countries, and even among the civilized Greeks and 
Romans, old age was ever held in honor, because grey hairs were con- 
sidered to be the sign of experience and wisdom j and should it be 
honored any the less because the mind has been carefully trained and 
matured by deep and severe study, as well as by experience 1 

But the followers of power are few when compared with the votaries 
of fame. Tt is true that Fame's proud temple stands afar, and is but 
faintly seen amid the intervening objects, yet full are the ranks that set 
out on the long pilgrimage to pay their devotions at her shrine, and lay 
their offerings on her altar. Thinned by a thousand accidents, only a 
few out of the many ever find a permanent resting-place under her pro- 
tection, and these few are cheered on and led by Ambition's magic wand 
through high-ways or by-ways to that common meeting-place of the 
truly great. 

There is hardly anything more difficult to endure than contempt. To 
be despised is to be miserable, in the case of most men, while, on the 
contrary, to be respected, to be honored, to be famed, is a lasting and 
exquisite source of enjoyment and pleasure to any one who is privileged 
to attain it. Hence we see that in life every effort is made to shun the 
one and to gain the other ; for we all desire to be esteemed, we all wish 
to be well thought of by our fellow-men, we long for honor, and we itch 
for fame. How many a sin is avoided because by it we would bring 
upon us the contempt and scorn of our friends ! How many a praise- 
worthy act is performed because by it we will gain the applause of others 
and the praise of men ! 

I do not wish to be understood here as saying that this should be con- 
sidered the highest motive to virtuous action, or even one to be specially 
commended j but the subject in hand is the motive to action, and not 
the principle of virtue. As regards that, we very frequently find men 
who lead apparently moral lives, but who do so chiefly because they 
respect the opinions of their fellow-men. Yet no one will imagine that 
this proves anything against the power and legitimacy of the love of 
esteem as a motive to action. If we search to the bottom of the question, 
we shall find that ambition, though not constituting an act virtuous of 
itself, at least does not make it wrong. 


The fame that is sought for so ardently and so laboriously, does not 
always gratify the expectation of its many aspirants, since it is very 
natural that each one should value his own productions far more than 
they deserve. On the other hand, it may alleviate the disappointment 
of the unfortunate to reflect that true genius is not always immediately 
recognized, and that if his own age does not appreciate the result of his 
labor, perhaps another will. For it is by no means certain that because 
one generation or nation is slow to perceive the marks of master minds, 
and reward them with their approbation and encouragement, that there- 
fore they are not worthy of it. It is a fact too well established by 
history and experience that many of the best men, many of the greatest 
minds, are only known when we lose them, and find how difficult it is 
to fill the void they left by their departure. 

Fame is not always sought after in the same way. One makes some 
personal quality, which he possesses in a greater degree than others, the 
way to distinction. Perhaps in one it is strength, in another endurance, 
in a third size, whether great or small, and so on. But such a person 
generally lives after his name has been once well known and then again 
sunk into obscurity. A far more enduring monument, one that may last 
for ages, if once placed on a firm foundation, is the result of the exertions of 
mind, when made to assume a tangible form, whether in written composi- 
tions or in the productions of the artist, in the disposition of armies, or in 
the management of nations. Out of the many whose names have been pre- 
served from the times of old, an infinitely small proportion only have 
gained their fame by qualities of person, and they only because they 
happen to be mentioned by writers more famous than themselves. Near 
three thousand years have rolled by since Homer composed his magni- 
ficent epics, yet his fame is a thousand times greater to-day than it was 
then. Now he is known over the whole earth ; then he sung them to 
hs many as his voice could reach. Now he is admired for his poetry ; 
then he was dear to the great-minded Greeks because of his story. 

It is a fact worthy of notice that many have become famous who had 
little ambition for it, nay, some of the most famous have been men of 
that class, — men who were giants in their days, who needed not the 
stimulus of praise to become great ; and yet for them were reserved the 
proudest distinctions that public opinion could bestow. To follow in 
the footsteps of these, and to attain like honor, soon then becomes 
the impelling, animating force of many a genius of less magnitude, 
which requires, however, only some external encouragement to achieve 
greatness as well. After Homer, sprung up the Homerides, who 
imitated him. Around every great philosopher, both in ancient and 
modern times, has gathered a school who believe and defend his 


opinions. Every master-mind in thought, poetry, and art, has made 
himself a nucleus around which others circle and which they emulate. 

It would be curious to trace out the effects of a love of fame on those 
who have striven for it in different times of the world. The author or 
the artist designs a work which he expects will make for him a reputa- 
tion, that will gain him friends and soften the sorrows of declining years. 
The thought fires his zeal to expend his utmost energies on what may 
perhaps make his name a synonyme for greatness. The surest test for a 
reputation is the permanency of it for any length of time. It is quite 
possible with all the improvements of a venal press to secure an 
ephemeral attention from the public, and perhaps to rob them of their 
dollar a-piece by giving in return a worthless compound of paper and 
printers ink ; but it is quite another matter to gain such a superiority 
and secure such a pre-eminence as will confer a lasting, a permanent 
fame, that, instead of waning, increases as time rolls on, that long after 
the author has mouldered to dust will associate his name with an act, an 
idea, or a discovery that has revolutionized the world or science, and 
made an age better for having possessed him. Fame in one's own life- 
time is perhaps accompanied with ease, and some reward more tangible 
than any that is associated with posthumous fame, yet the latter is not 
a mere fact that is mentioned by historians or biographers. It is also 
a pleasing expectation that exerts no small influence on the energy and 
efforts of men. 

Of all that others can give us, perhaps there is nothing that would 
cause us greater pleasure than to know simply that we have carved our 
names indelibly on the page of history. No wonder, then, that it should 
be so much desired by us, and furnish us with a motive to action in 
many an instance when we would in every other respect consult our own 
ease, or follow our natural inclinations by inaction. Men haA 7 e often 
voluntarily thrown away life to acquire after death a glory and renown 
which they could no longer enjoy. They anticipated that fame which 
was thereafter to be bestowed upon them ; those applauses which they 
were never to hear rang in their ears ; the thoughts of that admiration, 
the effects of which they were never to feel, played about their hearts, 
banished from their breasts the strongest of all natural fears, and trans- 
ported them to perform actions which seem almost beyond the reach of 
human nature. 

It is the fashion of some to frown down upon any ambition for fame 
and glory, to consider it as a mere passing dream in the fitful fever of 
life, and something that deserves not a serious thought from a sane man. 
In a mood like this, Pope was betrayed into writing the following account 
of it :-— 


" What 's Fame ? A fancied life in others breath, 
A thing beyond us even before our death ! 
All that we feel of it begins and ends 
In the small circle of our foes and friend:-! : 
To all beside, as much an empty shade, 
An Eugene living, as a Coesar dead." 

But before we decide, it would be well to enquire whether a feeling 
or desire that produces so much that is good can be altogether useless 
and unreasonable. We often hear it asked what use glory is to a man 
after he is dead. But we have to deal not vvitli the dead, but with the 
living. In action, the question of benefit is laid aside and left unnoticed. 
Nature asserts her authority over a stoical reason that calculates accu- 
rately the advantage, and leaves out of account the surplus of real 
pleasure which we derive from the thought that others will couple the 
letters of our name with something that is real, noble, or sublime ; that 
what we have said, done, or thought, has been approved of, and that the 
earth is proud to claim us as one of her noblest works. 

But to the account of ambition in general, another charge has been 
preferred, more serious than that of mere inanity. It is asserted that 
ambition has led the conqueror to devastate the earth, and make her 
streams run red with blood, in order to gratify his own desire for 
dominion and power; that for similar reasons the statesman lias been 
led to employ unjust and underhand means to aggrandize himself at the 
expense of others ; that it has led to dark and horrid crimes that make 
the mind recoil, and cause us to feel that the motive to such acts must 
be peculiarly unholy ; that the love of fame and reputation has made 
men hypocrites and dissemblers. The question therefore naturally arises 
whether ambition be a desire legitimate and laudable — one that may be 
cherished by a man of virtuous and upright character ? 

It is true that men impelled by it have waded to thrones through the 
blood alike of friends and foes, have sullied their virtue in order to 
obtain power, that the story of ambition has often been but a tale of 
crime ; but it is also true that many great vices are only virtues carried 
to excess. Justice often becomes cruelty, firmness degenerates into 
obstinacy. So ambition, which ought to be limited and confined by the 
boundaries of right, when it oversteps that boundary, becomes dan- 
gerous and wrong. We have seen what would be the condition of a 
being wholly without ambition, and how much worse would be the 
condition of a whole nation of such beings ! Suppose that the wicked 
alone were ambitious, that they alone sought for the sovereign power 
in the state, and that all good and just men despised or were disgusted 
with politics and what concerned the welfare of their country. It would 
not be^difficult to conclude from this that such a country must be in a 


state rapidly tending to anarchy, which evidently was not the condition 
intended for us by the Author of our existence. The love of reputation 
and glory, instead of being adverse to virtue, tends to produce the same 
outward conduct exactly as a virtuous principle, at least in the majority 
of cases ; for the general opinion of a people to which we wish to con- 
form never deviates very much from the standard of morality. 

Ambition, then, seems legitimate and commendable when it is turned 
to the attainment of a lawful object, sought by just means. But it 
should ever be accompanied by talent and discretion, otherwise it becomes 
ineffectual for good. Macbeth is made, by Shakspeare in a well-known 
passage, to complain that he had only " vaulting ambition that overleaps 
itself," and defeats its own ends. Such an ambition it was that raised 
to the surface of the seething sea of human passion in the French 
Revolution men like Robespierre and Murat, until the tide of public 
opinion turned suddenly, and overwhelmed them in the devouring waves 
of popular fury. This quality then should ever go hand in hand with pru- 
dence, and should never be in antagonism to virtue, but virtue should 
rather be its loftiest and purest object. Restrained within these limits 
it serves useful and noble ends in our constitution. " It is pleasant. 1 ' 
says Tillotson, "to be virtuous and good, because that is to excel many 
others. It is pleasant to command our passions and keep them within 
the bounds of reason, because this is empire ; to modify and subdue our 
appetites, because that is victory." 

The great difficulty in regard to this desire is to find the proper sphere 
for it. It is impossible to eradicate it altogether from the heart ; it is 
dangerous to let it become too powerful. On the one hand it comes in 
as a powerful and useful stimulus to action ; on the other, it has led to 
deeds that dread the light. The evil results that have followed from its 
vicious excess have led to its condemnation altogether by some. We 
have seen that this condemnation is unfounded ; nevertheless, it contains a 
warning. Its danger is seen in cases where it is the only motive. It is then 
generally productive only of evil, and, unless guided by virtue, in the 
end defeats itself. By an unscrupulous use of means it renders itself 
distrusted ; and a deed, praiseworthy in itself, when done merely for 
ambitious ends, loses all its loveliness in the eyes of others. It then 
leaves to a person merely the miserable reward of gaining an object 
only to find that its principal charm has flecl. 

At best, ambition is but part of a man, and whenever it becomes 
anything more, the man is a distorted being. Misguided ambition, like 
a ship without a rudder, ends only in ruin and a wreck. Properly 
restrained in its own sphere, it elevates and ennobles a man, — teaches 
him to rise above others as well as himself, and leads him to imitate the 
Divinity in whose image he was created. 

£fctt*bt$ flf cut* Society. 

" annalibus eruta priscis." . 

I purpose to write the History of University College Literary and 
Scientific Society, from the accession of the President of 1854 down to 
a time within the memoiy of Freshmen still living. I shall trace each 
advancing step which brought the Association of a weak and wavering 
few on to the Association of a strong and determined many, nor will it 
be less my duty faithfully to record disasters, mingled with triumphs, 
which have well nigh imperilled its very existence. It will be seen that 
in consequence partly of unwise interference from the ruling powers, and 
partly of the undue development of freedom of the press, immense good 
was produced, together with some evils from which weak and rude 
Societies are free. I should very imperfectly execute the task which I 
have undertaken if I were merely to treat of dissensions and wrangles 
of the body politic, of the rise and fall of General Committees, of in- 
trigues in the Council Chamber, and of debates conducted sometimes 
with closed doors, at other times in open session before a criticizing 
public. It will be my endeavour to trace the increase of influence as 
well as the increase of numbers, to describe the rise of political sects 
and the changes of literary taste, to pourtray the manners of successive 
four-year generations, and not to pass by with neglect even the revolu- 
tions which have taken place in repasts, furniture and public amusements. 
I shall cheerfully bear the reproach of having descended below the dig- 
nity of history, if I can succeed in placing before the undergraduate of 
'69 a true picture of the sayings and doings of his academic ancestors. 
In the following pages I may very seldom think it necessary to cite 
authorities, but the intentions I have announced are for the most part 
such that a person tolerably well read in " Macaulay's History," if not 
already struck by their originality, will at leaist know where to look for 
those that may be precisely parallel. 

Animated by such purposes, I apply myself to the task and strive to 
present under the form of a continuous history, "events quarried from 
ancient annals,'' desiring to bequeath the manuscript to posterity as one 
not destitute of antiquarian research and embodying facts snatched as a 
prize from the hungry maw of Time. Alas ! however, I find my phil- 


anthropic intention, which, indeed, for two livelong days has put forth 
"the budding leaves of hope," nipped by an icy blast of disappointment, 
for among the archives of the University there exist no records anterior 
to A. D. 1860, the previous years of our Society's life being entombed 
in Egyptian darkness, the trine fate of Carelessness, Laxity and Apathy, 
having obliterated all traces of Fasti long since immured in the dungeons 
of oblivion, and impervious now to a single ray of scrutinizing light from 
the present inquisitive decade. To account for their disappearance, two 
theories are advanced which have, since this discovery, engrossed no 
small share of public attention, and to each of which is attached a crowd 
of eager disputants. One sect of noted historical research aver with no 
small plausibility, that the records were feloniously abstracted by a Rev. 
honorary member of the Society, whose name for obvious reasons is 
suppressed, who soon after emigrated to Australia, and probably now 
exhibits them to the amazed Bushmen as charms and cabalistic designs 
of demoniac import, the invention of a nation of northern barbarians. 
Another party, among whom are men of calm and sober intellect, basing 
their theory more on the doctrine of probabilities than on plausible tra- 
dition, conjecture that the Fasti were carried off by the enemy as 
booty during the Endowment agitation, who leaving the lamp of Alma 
Mater to burn more brilliantly than ever, did, it is supposed, capture 
such memorials of the particular methods of burnishing and trimming 
the fountain of enlightenment, to exhibit them as curious records of the 
manner in which the victims of the Leviathan Monopoly amused them- 
selves in order to escape the scaly folds of metropolitan dissipation. To 
the latter theory I myself incline, as being undoubtedly the common 
sense view of the question. With no official history then before me, 
praying that the genius of our Society, who, like the Hamadryad of the 
forest-tree, has lived with it for now well nigh four academic generations, 
may guide my judgment in the separation of the true and the false, 
beaded on the slender thread of tradition, and that she may spread her 
mantle over unintentional inaccuracies and shield me from the criticism 
of historians who may succeed me, — -" incipiam" "I will begin." 

On the 22nd of February, 1854, almost a year after the separation 
of University College and the University, and just when Europe was 
arming itself for the Crimean campaign, in a small chamber of the 
present Parliament building, then occupied by our Professor of English 
and History, but now deserted by the muses, and presided over by some 
functionary of the Crown Lands Department, were assembled a scant 
few of the then undergraduates. This small meeting of youths, almost 
raw from the schools, brought together by the love of knowledge, was 
in many respects more interesting than the largest assemblage of savans, 


associated for the elaboration of some new principle, or for the discovery 
of some long-sought-for secret of science ; for here was the nucleus of 
a Society intended to cultivate such departments of a polite education 
as are not more immediately embraced by the University curriculum, 
and in this way to model for usefulness the diverse material thrown 
together at a Provincial University. Many of the graduates, who arc 
now achieving professional renown, may remember with pleasure that 
memorable evening when was implanted the germ of our Literary and 
Scientific Society, and may recall with fondness the kindly tones of the 
amiable Professor of History, who, ever ready to further whatever has 
improvement for its design, stimulated the wavering and doubtful to 
determined and united effort ; nor will they easily forget the pithy advice 
of our Professor of Mathematics — " Gentlemen, when you have nothing 
to say, say nothing," thus with caustic humour mildly reproving any 
possible display of an empty verbiage, which is worse than silence itself 
among men assembled together for present mutual advantage, and the 
future benefit of their fellows. The scheme owed its origination entirely 
to undergraduates, and was vigorously supported by Messrs. A. Crooks, 
(the first President), W. W. Baldwin, C. E. English, T. Hodgins, E. 
GYombie, and A. Macnabb, gentlemen since well known in the profes- 
sional world. A constitution was soon framed, and laid by the earliest 
and warmest friend of the Society, Dr. Wilson, before the College 
Council, who sanctioned it, and the good ship was fairly launched, 
freighted with the buoyant hopes and affectionate God-speeds of both 
student and Professor ; and well has it fulfilled the most ambitious 
expectations of its founders. Its home at that time, and a year later, 
when it assembled in the present Medical School, was no scene either of 
substantial comfort or of fairy magnificence ; but since the time when 
the columns of our goodly building were fashioned in enduring strength 
and varied symmetry, its dwelling has been in all respects a fair part of 
that beautiful atom on the broad bosom of mother Earth, and which, 
by its position between the halls of the Academy on the one hand, and 
the Residence, the scenes of both cloistered study and joyful merriment, 
on the other, seems to indicate that the Society is a link between scho- 
lastic control and manly sociality, and that here the busy untrained 
intercourse of men is to be chastened into a just harmony with the quiet 
dignity and learned seriousness of the lecture-room. The pioneers in 
those early times had much to contend with, and the success which 
now crowns our efforts is in a very great measure due to those few 
who worked laboriously during the early dawn, and who toiled on to 
meridian glory through difficulties that would have appalled the under- 
graduates of a more recent epoch. For want of a suitable place of 


meeting they were for a time necessitated to meet in the Normal School 
buildings, a room in which was kindly placed at their disposal by the 
Chief Superintendent of Education ; afterwards their meetings were 
held in Professor Croft's lecture-room, then in the present Medical School. 
The chief discouragement, however, was due to the lack of interest 
manifested by a type of student, which, however, is fast becoming 
extinct, the type which thinks time is wasted and energy dissipated by 
the Friday evening meetings, so much so that frequently only two or 
three attended the debates, and these members of General Committee ; 
and this, too, in the face of a clause in their constitution, which empow- 
ered the imposing of a tine of 3d. on an ordinary member, and 6d. on 
an officer, who neglected attendance at an ordinary meeting, which was 
rendered more imperative by another clause providing that defaulters 
neglecting to pay in one week, after notification from the Treasurer, 
should be ostracized ! A detail of the labors of the Treasurers, from 
1854-'59, would be interesting. In June, '54, the College Society had 
the reputation of reviving the custom of the Annual University Dinner, 
which for five years had fallen into desuetude, having become mythical 
along with the complex machinery of residences, commons, chapels, etc. 
From the mire of legendary oblivion, the institution of the University 
Dinner was happily rescued, and placed on a basis which has endured to 
the present day, and has tended so powerfully to promote that cordiality 
of sentiment and unity of purpose which should prevail among the sous 
of one Alma Mater. And, indeed, it is worthy of remark, that all the 
recognized interests of the College and University have sprung from this 
Society, which still continues to be the organ of the undergraduates ; 
being an embodiment of their purposes and opinions, inspiring them with 
a sort of esprit tie corps, and thus giving them an influence, which, in a 
fragmentary state, they could not command. 

During the session 1854-55, the Reading Room was established by 
T. Hodgins, Esq., B.A. ; at that time the Secretary, aEd afterwards the 
President, whose "hands dispatched much the greater part of the harrass- 
ing Society business," in which were collected, session 1850-57, forty- 
three newspapers, Canadian and American, with Blackwood and the four 
Revieics, contributed by the College Council. This is one of our most 
important institutions, and has steadily gained in character every year, 
now comprehending fifty Canadian newspapers, with seventeen English 
and American periodicals, receiving increased attention from mem- 
bers, who may frequently be seen taking advantage of it as a release 
from more determined intellectual effort. In earlier days the attention 
of students to the illustrated papers was complimentary rather to their 
aesthetic faculty and appreciation of wit, than to their honesty ; and on 


more than one occasion General Committees are found complaining 
bitterly of this ungovernable propensity, and on one occasion recom- 
mending Punch to the special care of the Curator ; but in these latter 
days, since the newspapers and magazines were removed from the present 
mathematical apparatus room to more commodious quarters, this insa- 
tiable thirst for reading has been alleviated — firstly, because " Way land" 
is more extensively read, and his moral precepts more thoroughly 
comprehended ; and secondly, because the property is protected by a 
complication of files and locks, which have bidden defiance to the in- 
genuity of those of weak moral sense, and have offered resistance supe- 
rior to the physical force of the students of Fine Arts. 

But to return to times primitive. The foundation of the University 
Association might be traced to agitations of prominent members of the 
College Society ; for the views of both undergraduates and graduates in 
reference to disruption of endowment, and other questions of the day, 
found expression in the summoning a meeting of the hooded and un- 
hooded, on the 23rd September, 1856, which passed a series of resolutions 
declaring their determination to guard the interests of the University, 
and condemning any attempt to seek from England a Principal for the 
U. C. College, as "a reflection upon Canadian talent and capacity." 
This inaugural meeting, and a subsequent one, resulted in the appoint- 
ment of a Canadian, Rev. W. Stennett, MA., to the vacant office; the 
admission of our own graduates to the University Senate, and the recog- 
nition, by the University of London, of our Alumni, as of the same 
academical status as those of Oxford, Cambridge, Dublin, and Sydney 
Universities. This association gave rise to other University associations, 
as those of McGill College, Trinity College, Queen's College, and Vic- 
toria College, all of which are based on the same model. 

The Society struggled manfully onwards, notwithstanding many dis- 
advantages it had to contend with, of which we now have no conception, 
enjoying as it does the benefit of spacious apartments for its different 
institutions, the convenience of a Residence in close proximity, and 
rising each year, like another phoenix, with rejuvenated vigor as 
largely increasing swarms pour in to replace the loss of such material 
as has been withdrawn, polished for the strife of life by the attrition 
which has smoothed the angularities of crude genius, and ground off the 
superficial dross that of self-satisfaction and untrained opinionativeness 
which so often dim the lustre of true excellence. During these earlier 
years, many men who aie now adorning the pulpit, the bar, the teacher's 
rostrum, and the legislative halls of our country, distinguished themselves 
in the business of the Society, and there possibly not only first taught 
eloquence to their tones, and educated their pen to write " thoughts that 


breathe and words that burn," but also learned those elements of mind 
and character that distinguish the true gentleman. 

It has always been a complaint that a number of undergraduates, fail- 
ing to see the self-cultivating power of the Society, are not sufficiently in 
earnest about its work, being in fact disposed to treat its meetings and 
appointments as indeed perfectly harmless in themselves, but yet not 
meriting any special disapproval ; and as an instance of this I may 
mention that as late as 1861, the General Committee reported that during 
the session -ending at that time, only thirty-nine members had taken 
part in the seventeen debates, and that on two occasions none of those 
appointed appeared, on three occasions one only appeared, while at only 
three meetings the full complement of six responded to the heart-harrow- 
ing appeals of the Secretary. Furthermore, I read in extant records that 
instances of want of decorum too often marred the dignity of the meet- 
ings ; eloquent speeches being often cut short by the sudden extinguish- 
ing of gas ; elegantly composed essays being interrupted by the unseason- 
able ringing of bells ; meek-eyed readers of the first year being suddenly 
brought to a period by the rattle of descending coal-scuttles, doing utter 
violence to all the recognized canons of punctuation ; together with many 
other proofs of an ingenious facetiousness. It is gratifying to observe, 
however, that in these latter years a spirit of upright earnestness is on 
the increase, members turning out to the call of duty with a sacred 
honesty, and the dignity appertaining to the proceedings being seldom or 
ji ever imperilled by any ill-timed witicisms. 

It may be noticed here that in different periods of the Society's history, 
three different methods have prevailed as to the manner of deciding 
questions of debate ; iu I806, and later, botli chairman and meeting 
decided ; at a more modern period, the chairman was relieved and the deci- 
sion rested entirely with the meeting ; while, in 1863, a change in the con- 
stitution enacted that the chair should sum up the arguments on either 
side and on such deliver judgment ; these changes are interesting as 
perhaps shewing the instability of prerogative, and a varying confidence 
in the discriminating capacity of the President and Vice-Presidents, which 
received a severe shock in the middle era, but was re-asserted most 
ttiumphantly in a more recent and more enlightened epoch. With 
reference to the numbers attending the meetings, the fact is very 
significant, that up to 1861 it was the invariable practice of the Secretary 
to record the names of those present, but since that time both the 
numbers and amount of business have increased so rapidly, that the 
Secretary has satisfied himself with merely calling the roll and recording 
the aggregate number of those present. 

At no period in the history which I sketch did the public debates 


receive little or no encouragement from the resident friends in the city ; 
whether they were held in the unpretentious room in the old University 
Buildings a]) to 1859, or the commodious Lecture Room in the new 
University Buildings, the debaters always met the cheering faces of the 
youth and beauty which monthly assembled to hail the advent, on the 
arena of debate, of some friend or brother, or of " a dearer one still, and 
a nearer one yet, than all other." On the 31st March, 1864, the public 
meetings took a new character by the inauguration of the Annual Con- 
versazione, which has now suffered four repetitions, each one of them 
meeting with greater success than its predecessor, and its glory in turn 
paling before that of a still more glorious successor. On such occasions 
our Academic Halls doff their sombre grandeur and chilling solemnity, 
for stately Convocation Hall and the cynically- wrinkled Lecture-Boom 
echo to the noise of merriment and the swelling crash of music, while 
the genius of the place seems to relax her frown at the seeming dese- 
cration into an approving smile, and the grim carvings themselves appear 
to unbend the severity of their stony stare at the beauteous bewitchery, 
trooping with goddess step and queenly mien, through the unwonted 
" atria longa" which start at seeing their inmost penetralia become the 
glittering haunt of pomp and fashion. The arrangements for the first 
Conversazione were the occasion of the populus rebelling against consti- 
tuted authorities, and triumphantly vindicating the freedom of the press 
in a manner which is worthy of record, as evincing the outcropping of 
revolutionary tendencies in the Society, against giving occasion for which 
it would be well for future General Committees to guard. The ruling 
body was thought to have overstepped its prerogative in bringing down 
to the House measures, which were thought by a party in the State to 
bo arbitrary, because attempted to be carried by stifling the celestial 
breathings of the vox populi, and disarming the potency of the unhallowed 
Commons by a display of the sacredness attached to the official purple. 
These unconstitutional measures, although adopted, were viewed by the 
minority as savouring somewhat of the divine-right-of-kings principle, 
so in the silence of midnight, "when churchyards yawn," the news-room 
was entered by unknown conspirators, and next morning the august 
General Committee and their proteges beheld themselves lampooned in 
the most complete piece of satire that ever clung to academic wall : 
who the Great Unknown was, remains to this day a hidden enigma, 
although it is whispered in certain circles, that the villany was due to the 
royal daring of two men, who are no longer of their (de la) Alma Mater, 
leaving the Society, it is said, with some renown as clever satirists, but 
owing to circumstances, which reflect on them no descredit, not yet 
having on bended knee received the right hand of the Chancellor in 


convocation, — verbum sapientibus sat. It is worthy of remark, that the 
General Committee, by a clause in the constitution, ever afterwards 
acknowledged the fountain of their power, by calling in assistants from 
the plebs to take council together in regard to the arrangements for 

But to resume the dignity of history : — to 18G4 belong other 
events worthy of notice, such as the sale of the collected periodicals, the 
accumulation of some years, which had been stored away from the insane 
idea of forming the nucleus of a Library to the Society, but which, being 
disposed of at auction by the eloquent Curator, enriched the exchequer to 
the amount of $25, and gladdened the heart of the Treasurer. In the 
same year, the news room was furnished with desks and files for 
magazines and papers, which, as above stated, protected the property of 
the Societv from injury, and added materially to the comfort of the 
readers ; at present there is a scheme approaching realization to still 
further increase the respectability of appearance of this most important 
branch of our interests, by clothing its floor by a suitable covering, so 
that its staring nudity may no longer shock the sensitiveness of members 
and visitors. Two years ago the slovenliness of the meeting-room had be- 
come so apparent, that the then General Committee, seeking to eclipse 
their predecessors in enterprize, and to justify their claims to be considered 
men of cultured taste, superintended the erection of the dais and reading 
desk which now grace our chamber, and furthermore, desiring to 
establish unimpeachable evidence that they were men of far reaching 
views, exhumed from some cloistered nook the chair, which now having 
been modernized is filled by the presiding officer as well as his capacity 
will allow. The time, I hope, is not far distant, when our assembly 
room may be adorned by statues, and its walls decked with paintings, as 
indeed the great amphitheatre of Edinburgh University is, where five 
different Debating Societies meet every week, and where the classic 
monuments of intellectual greatness, by which the members are encircled, 
cannot fail to stimulate them to an emulation with that mightiness of 
which those emblems are the inanimate personification, and to eagle-plume 
their thoughts with. the inspiring dreams of a towering eminence yet 
to be. 

It may perhaps seem to some, that the dignity of history is somewhat 
imperilled by the recital of such particulars ; I feel, however, that it is 
the conscientious duty of a faithful historian to faithfully record all sub- 
jects of interest, not only the greater, but the smaller, for the apparently 
more trivial are often significant of a growth and improvement which 
the more revolutionary changes do not indicate, and my readers will 
remember that I set out, not with the single intention of treating dry 


details, or of discussing constitutional points, but by giving information 
as to the change of even " furniture, repasts, and public amusements," to 
shew the greater cultivation of aesthetic taste, following in this the foot- 
steps of my great original Macaulay. 

Session 1865-G6 was, in some respects, an important era in our his- 
tory, for to it belongs four distinct items of advancement, which I would 
treat under four distinct heads. Firstly, then, in this year the Society 
first launched out into the dangerous sea of publishing, by inaugurating 
the printing of the President's Inaugural Address, from which project, 
originating in the comprehensive brain of the then General Committee, 
this more ambitious publication is a legitimate descendant. This Inau- 
gural, written by Rev. John Campbell, B.A., was read with an interest 
commensurate with the ability of the writer, who in a mingled strain of 
humor and seriousness, furnished in the unpretentious little book, not 
only occasion for many a smile, but also material for much deep conside- 

Secondly, the scheme of publishing a University Newspaper obtained 
in this session a definite shape, after having been ardently discussed at 
various intervals, from even the very earliest* times when the swift-fated 
"Maple Leaf" of 1846, was issued under the auspices of certain Gradu- 
ates and Professors of King's College. A circular letter was dispatched 
to the old Alumni, embodying the views and wishes of the Society in the 
matter, and inviting their co-operation in the supply of material for a 
periodical, not only to keep the flame of its existence burning, but to 
maintain a brilliancy somewhat commensurate with the institution where 
it was kindled. The publication was intended to take the shape of a 
monthly newspaper, in which were to be comprehended University prize 
poems, home and foreign intelligence, choice selected matter, advoca- 
tion of University and Society interests, wit and humor, &c. ; each under 
graduate saw himself noticed at length in the Athenamm, great results 
were anticipated, and the enthusiastic originators seemed about to spurn 
the bruta tellus, and lo*ok for some vacant constellation in which to seat 
themselves. Alas ! however, it seemed otherwise to the old graduates, if 
not to the aye-existing deities, for the elder brethren sent a few an- 
swers to the soul-stirring invitation, highly approving of the plan, and 
wishing it every success ; so that the weaker brethren, who were only 
being dandled into vigour, wisely feeling that they could not with such 

* It may be interesting to know, that there has been exhumed a document, bearing 
date January, 1855, in which a publisliing firm of the city offers to issue for the Society 
1000 copies of a Monthly Magazine, of 112 pages, for £48 per number. This record indi- 
cates the ambition of the Society, while even in dawning infancy, as the abandonment of 
the scheme betokened its wisdom. 


encouragement attempt the aerial dwellings of literature, prudently got 
into the traces again, and pulled away more sturdily than ever in the 
smooth beaten track, without indulging fond hope in any more chimeri- 
cal vanities. 

Thirdly, a change of " Repasts " next claims our attention. To the 
President of 1867, when yet in private life, belongs the credit of origin- 
ating a proposal to establish a Society Dinner, which would, it was im- 
agined, promote a sociality and fraternity of feeling among members, 
thereby increasing their zeal for mutual honor, and resulting in the accom- 
plishment of good yet undreamed of. The proposal looked well, and was 
adopted with much enthusiasm. There were higher powers, however, 
yet to be consulted, and the matter was laid before the College Council 
for their active approval : fortunately or unfortunately, they put on it a 
veto. What reasons they had are not to this day clearly known to those 
uninitiated in the occult mysteries of that Council Chamber, but it was 
currently reported as the opinion of "grave and reverend seniors," that 
though Saliarian banquets, with the usual accompaniment of Falernian 
wine and four-year old Massic would befit the University, yet it would 
not suit the irresponsible undergraduate, for there would be danger that 
Mrs. Rumor, a dilapidated lady, who lives in some country towns, would 
whisper to Mrs. Grundy, whom she often visits, with glaring eye-ball and 
bated breath, that " them University Students held a high feast, and 
some of them had been prostrated before the roseate-flushed Bacchus, in 

plain vernacular they were " nothing more than an expressive wave 

of the hand, and Mrs. Grundy would nod her head, conveying thereby 
an intense admiration of the good lady's Aposiopcesis, and the idea that 
to her own lively imagination all was perfectly clear, " in fact, she half- 
expected that such would be the case," and it would be contrary to the 
eternal fitness of things if such were not. What " the case " was, as is 
usual in such affairs, would be left unavowed, not because Mrs. G. rather 
shrank from the responsibility of making any positive statement, but 
rather because she did not wish to embitter the feelings of the friends of 
the young men, by speaking definitely about a dire intelligence, which 
would surely cause the heart of a fond parent to gush with feelings diffi- 
cult to be repressed, and grievous to be borne. 

Amid the recital of such enterprises successful and unsuccessful, my 
duty would be inadequately accomplished, did 1 omit recording under a 
fourth head, the establishment in the Society of a Scientific Medal, by 
W. B. McMurrich, M. A , for the special fostering of the study of the 
Natural Sciences among our members. This medal, which has been 
honorably won in two successive years, has had the marked effect of 


stimulating an attention to scientific research, and tending to unite that 
department of our Society into a worthy sisterhood with the Literary. 
It furnishes, too, a delightful evidence that the aims of our association arc 
actively encouraged by the alumni ; for here we have a silver cable moor- 
ing the men of past academic generations with those of the living moving 
present, which draws each nearer the other, showing that we are not left 
floating on the sea of our own hopes and enterprises, but, being linked 
with those who have tried the ocean of life, we may take courage, and, 
ceasing to cling to ourselves alone, may sweep on to a yet higher and 
nobler destiny. 

Let me, however, hasten on to the recounting of events of state import- 
ance, which annually find place in our history, and which for a time en- 
gross the undivided attention of all academics, unsophisticated freshmen, 
knowing fourth-year's men, and even of ermincd graduates — I mean the 
Society Elections. In our microcosm of men and manners, within the 
larger world of the University, which' again is within the still larger 
one over which public opinion presides, we have certain periods where 
excitement and curiosity rise somewhat above their normal height, and 
of these periods, none is more interesting at the time, and none is more 
anxiously looked forward to for weeks before, than the Society elections. 
The time has been when elections for office were viewed with indif- 
ference, and the results attracted little or no interest, but in these later 
years constituencies are organized long before the end of term, voter's 
lists are inspected, the names of men both the most obscure and the 
most illustrious become subjects of violent discussion, the whole machi- 
nery of political agitation is in full blast, and all look forward with 
anxiety to the period when the grand issues will be decided in that arena 
of intellectual and machiavellian gladiators, the West-end Reading 
Room. The wordy war waxes hotter, the caucus-meetiugs of the enfran- 
chised are more frequent and more numerously attended, the circles of 
excited agitators each round some chosen demagogue grow larger, men 
of reticence grow eloquent, he who is buried in the cloisters of study 
(for examination bells will soon ring out a doleful peal) emerges from 
seclusion and soon is eager in debate with him who was " ploughed last 
College" sage individuals of Sibylline gift, view with horror the approach 
of the genius of Desolation, who with humid and dank wings broods 
• the Society, engendering enmity, hate, malice, and prophesy that 
its dismembered fragments will be scattered for the scorn of the 
unlettered,, that the vandalic hand of internal dissension will pluck 
. its renown, and that the Society will have cause to mourn the 
parricide in the angry eloquence of men, who have derived from itself 


the grace of heaven-born speech, like as the eagle pierced by a shaft 
feathered from its own plumes sobs out a last lament. Two elections 
we have seen thus waged, but so soon as the clouds of battle have rolled 
off, far from being overthrown by intestinal war the Society has 
recovered from the effects of the strife, and after the long vacation 
is over, all rallying round the elected leaders struggle manfully, not 
for the benefit of faction, but for the weal of the whole, and in 
place of any ill effects being derived from such agitations, a new 
interest being excited, the Society, in accordance with a universal prin- 
ciple of history, experiences a more glorious era of intellectual supre- 
macy than ever, consequent on the clash of rival opinion brought to the 
surface in a revolutionary struggle. 

But, let me now deal with sober facts. Among interesting matter 
connected with our Society, none the least interesting is the success of 
the second Vice-President of 1868-69, Eufus G. Wiggins, Esq., in carry- 
ing off the Gilchrist Scholarship from the numerous competitors sent by 
many Universities and Colleges of the Dominion. It may be stated in 
addition, that Mr. Wiggins received his preparatory education und 
direction of Mr. Delamater, an old Society man, and that two 
members of our University, Messrs. F. A. Clarkson and J. Fletcher of 
the First Year, who had also been trained by graduates of the Univ 
and former officers of the Society, were among the few classed in honors 
at that examination ; these facts are very important, as showing the un- 
paragoned advantages derived from a sojourn in our midst, both in the 
capacity of students and as brethren of our association. Mr. Wiggins 
leaves us to take his position among the students of London University, 
with the heartiest congratulations on his success, and the assured hope 
that he will, both by his conduct as a man and ability as a student, add 
new lustre to his Alma Mater, and spread the name and cause of the 
Society over which he presided among the metropolitans of England, 
showing that Anglo-Saxon talent has not in the slightest deteriorated by 
being carried across the old ocean to the new world, and that young 
Canadians will ever be found able to take an honorable position among 
the gownsmen of British Universities. 

In conclusion, I submit a few statistics extending from session 1859-68, 
showing how the Society is yearly gaining increased strength, and bidding 
fair to become one of the institutions of the Dominion. During these 
nine years, the Society has annually held from twenty to twenty-four 
meetings, which, with the exception of one or two business meetings, 
have been occupied by the usual exercises of Essay, Reading, and 



Number of active Members 

New Members elected 

Maximum attendance at Meetings... 43 

Average attendance 23 

Fees collected $39 00 

Amount expended on Reading-room $10 00 



$55 00 $75 00 
$24 00 '$38 00 


170 00 $87 00 

$50 00 $48 00 


$67 00 

$28 00 




$96 00 
$31 00 





$106 00 

$35 00 

It may be mentioned further, that, during this session, 1868-69, 
there stand recorded in the Society's books, 331 names of honorary, life, 
and ordinary members. 

* * . * * * * * * * 

And now having accomplished my task as a chronicler, before laying 
down my pen, and leaving the stage for the " well-graced actor" who 
follows, let me more immediately address myself to those associated 
together in the institution, the history of which I have been attempting 
to sketch. And the thoughts, which crowd upon me for utterance, are 
such that readily suggest themselves from the retrospect that has just 
been taken. Standing, as we do, on the verge of known history, with 
fourteen years of our Society's young life behind us, and the dark mys- 
terious future before us, having brought along a casket of the experience 
and wisdom of the past, and having flung away the vile dross of the idle 
follies of days gone by, it is befitting to pause for a while and consider 
the position we occupy in our young country, hurrying on, as it is, on 
the ceaseless tide of events, either to a brilliant future or a mouldering 
obscurity. Since the first meeting of our Society, in that secluded little 
chamber, great changes have been wrought in the constitution of things. 
Europe has been convulsed over and over again with the throes of san- 
guinary struggle ; Russian snows have been empurpled by the blood of 
Saxon, and Norman, and Ottoman fighting side by side ; swarthy India 
has paled at scenes of bloody massacre, and the vengeance of a con- 
queror's rage ; the mailed hand of tyranny has again smitten down the 
Polish chevaliers ; Austria and Prussia have been locked in deadly 
combat ; diplomacy and victory have revolutionized the map of Europe ; 
a great Republic, in another continent, has received a shock which has 
left it gasping with the loss of its best life's blood, but yet, like an 
Antseus, rising again replete with energy and new life ; the Papal States 
have passed through changes which would have startled the earlier half 

* The apparent decrease arises from the interesting fact that various Graduates and 
Members have generously gifted the Reading Room with many periodicals and magazine?. 


o f the century ; empires wane, and kings wax stronger. No less have 
been the revolutions in public opinion, or the triumphant march of art 
and literature, or the bloodless campaigns of intellectual effort. 

Science has accomplished seeming impossibilities, the wild lightning 
has again been yoked, and obedient to human behests, has become still 
more eloquent with the tidings of affection and of brotherly interest, the 
old world has been moored alongside of the new by a wondrous tie of 
winged words ; space has been laughed at, and time almost annihilated* 
Men have given up their ancestral opinions, and even now the establish- 
ments of centuries are tottering, the clash of intellect with intellect has 
been severe in parliament and press, and things, that to-day are, to-mor- 
row have been. 

Through all these years, this little corner of the British Empire has not 
been at rest, it has been no stagnant pool walled in from the tide of 
Time, here even has been that ceaseless activity of body and mind so 
characteristic of the Saxon ; our once little Province has advanced to what 
promises to be a great nationality, no longer an insignificant dependency, 
it takes a place of its own on the roll-call of kingdoms, trade the " calm 
health of nations," flows through its veins, Science and Literature beino- 
fostered assert a just pre-eminence, and though the stifled cry " To 
arms !" was for a moment heard in its midst, yet soon again white-winded 
peace smiled, while now plenty and prosperity causes it with quickened 
pulse and animated strength, to hold an onward course amid the throne 
of struggling nations. Looking at this, thoughts truly national arise. 

What is to be our future ? will the next fourteen years be as eventful 
as the last 1 and what share will we have in the « rough-hewing of the 
ends" of our country, swaying its destiny, either in the plodding retire- 
ment of private individuality, or in the bustle of active life, or in the 
contention of the Council Chamber, when the voices of the present lead- 
ers of the people are hushed, and their hands no longer do their bidding 1 ? 
To whom does the country look to recruit the ranks of her gray-headed 
wisdom, decimated by the enemy of all life, but to her young men, and 
more especially to her educated young men 1 To us, along with others, 
fitting ourselves for life's tournay, by choosing weapons from the arsenal, 
where we are equipped, does the country look for her men of enterprise, 
of vigorous will, and nervous purpose, for her men of professional re- 
nown, her soldiers, her legislators, the upholders of her national reputa- 
tion in Art, Literature, and Science ; to us she entrusts her welfare, and 
on us depends, to a great measure, her future destiny, whether she is to 
climb high the ladder of national importance, or to struggle on in sickly 

Canada is not yet fully formed, she is only now laying broad and deep 


the foundations of an enduring fame, and on us, and sueh as we, devoting 
ourselves to the attainment of knowledge and sound principles, depend 
much of her claims for a true greatness ; for let us remember, that brute- 
like muscle is after alHmt the slave of the god-like mind, the wisdom of 
the people and the prudence of the rulers are the true sinews of the state, 
and it will be found that true greatness of kingdoms consists in the 
sincere efforts of an educated and intelligent commons to achieve and 
maintain an honest independence. If, then, Canada fails in the race of 
nations, if she lags wearily in the course, and at length sinks nerveless on 
the highway to be trampled under foot of a fleeter runner, — then, let us 
see to that. 

Feeling, then, fully this measure of obligation, let us proceed on our 
way as students of one College, and brethren of one association, deter- 
mined severally and unitedly to leave our impress on the features of the 
times, not hiding our heads, but boldly showing front against whatever 
may threaten the honor of our country in word or thought, keeping the 
purity of its escutcheon unblemished ; and to do this, let us not go 
through the routine work (-four College, as if forsooth in the meanwhile 
compelled by unflinching necessity, and let us not associate together for 
the mere purpose of spending an idle hour as an agreeable cessation from 
more exhausting effort, bu f , rather let us be animated by the feeling that 
in the successful prosecution of all our aims, we are discharging a solemn 
duty to ourselves, our Alma Mater, and our country. 

She QnttlUdml §td\nma &i tlit gwaManjs 



Between the Ked Sea and the Persian Gulf, the Indian Ocean, Syria 
and the Euphrates, extending over a distance of fifteen hundred miles 
from its northern extremity to the Straits of Babelmandel, and about 
half that distance from east to west, lies the peninsula of Arabia : since 
a remote antiquity, the home of a race characterized by some of the most 
peculiar features, that have ever been exhibited by any people. The 
physical conformation of Arabia is at once peculiar, and eminently calcu- 
lated to develope, some of those elements at least, to which the Arabians 
owed their subsequent greatness. Amid the sands of his native deserts, 
the wandering Bedouin was free as the air which he breathed. The sons 
of Tshmael had never borne the fetters of domestic tyranny, nor the 
yoke of the conquering stranger. This freedom was their boast ; and at 
the same time, the silent nurse, which during the long centuries, that 
preceded their wonderful outburst of physical and intellectual vigor, was 
preparing them for the prominent role, which they afterwards played 
upon the historical stage of Asia, Africa, and Mediaeval Europe. Liberty 
is the nurse of power : of physical and intellectual greatness — and this 
Arabia possessed : for her armies, though swift and terrible as the rush- 
ing storm, were even less formidable than the oceans of sand by which 
her fertile oases were surrounded. The invader often found no opponent, 
but the wide and awful desolation of the desert, and was yet obliged to 
retrace his steps. The nomadic life of the primitive Arabs was not only 
well calculated to strengthen their individual love of freedom, but in 
addition was one of the best training schools, to prepare them for 
what they afterwards became — the fiercest and the bravest warriors, 
that ever wielded the sword of conquest, or of vengeance. Spending a 
venturous life, roaming the desert in search of pasture for his flocks, 
constantly in the saddle, and engaged in those martial exercises for which 
they are so renowned, the Arabian not only transferred from generation 
to generation, the traditions of a liberty coeval with Iris existence, but 
also perpetuated and developed that hardy endurance, muscular vio-or, 
and elasticity of frame, which needed but the impulse, subsequently 
derived from their religion to constitute the Arabian soldier, the invin- 


cible conqueror of the fairest provinces of three mighty continents. But 
Arabia was not all a desert, nor did all its inhabitants lead this primitive 
nomadic life. Many were engaged in trade and agriculture, and were col- 
lected together in large commercial centres. Of the forty-two cities of An- 
cient Arabia, the greatest number, the richest, and most populous, were 
situated on the high and fertile lands bordering on the Persian Gulf : 
under the bright sky of Arabia Felix, — the happy Yemen, whose natives 
were said to furnish an illustration of the enjoyment of the most 
voluptuous luxury, in connection with the primitive innocence of Arca- 
dian simplicity. The City of Mecca (afterwards so celebrated in con- 
nection with the personal history of Mahomet), situated about the centre 
of the Arabian coast of the Red Sea, and known in ancient times, to the 
Greeks, by the name of Macoraba, was a place of great commercial im- 
portance. In its marts were exchanged the treasures of India, the frankin- 
cense and coffee of Arabia Felix, for the products of Syria and the other 
countries around the Mediterranean coast, the one brought from the shores 
of the Persian Gulf and Indian Ocean, the other procured in the markets 
of Bostra and Damascus. And thus, into the very heart of this desolate 
peninsula was borne, by Arabian and foreign merchants, the first seeds 
of knowledge and intellectual culture. A fair, lasting over thirty days, 
was annually held at Mecca, to which the most distant tribes repaired, 
not alone to exchange their merchandise, their corn and their wine, but 
also to engage in intellectual tournaments of oratory and of song. These 
were cultivated among the Arabians since the earliest times, and dis- 
tinctly characterize them as a race far removed above the rude Scythian 
tribes, with which they were in immediate contact. Poetry was cultiva- 
ted to an unusual extent. As among the Goths, and the Celts, the 
Greeks and the Persians, so also among the Arabians ; all their learning 
and instruction were conveyed in verse. There are still preserved the 
seven original poems, which w r ere inscribed in letters of gold upon Egyp- 
tian silk, and preserved in the sacred Caaba, under the guardianship of the 
Medici of Mecca, — the family of Hashem, of the tribe of Koreish, from 
whom the prophet of later years was descended. The Arabians then en- 
joyed the most unlimited personal freedom : they lived a life inuring 
them to hardship, and developing their physical energy ; while commerce, 
agriculture and a certain species of intellectual culture, were prosecuted 
at an early date. The people, moreover, were left for centuries in the 
quiet possession of their uninviting country ; and thus these elements 
were left to work out their legitimate effects, unheeded, and uncared for, 
simply, because distant from the recognized centres of European power, 
and civilization, the second Home upon the banks of the Thracian Bos- 
pherous, and her more renowned predecessor, the Eternal City of the 


Seven Hills. And thus the Arabians might have continued for many 
centuries longer to develope their military prowess, and cultivate their 
intellectual pursuits, within the limits of their own home, had not the 
religion of Mahomet, like the spark that ignites the loaded cannon, pro- 
duced a sudden and expansive force as resistless as the mightiest convul- 
sions of physical nature ; and in the subsequent history of the Arabians, 
or Saracens, as they were soon denominated, is fully illustrated the resist- 
less power that is evoked, when all the national faculties, without ex- 
ception, converge to one point : when the restlessness of physical vigor 
and courage is directly stimulated by the precepts of a treasured religion, 
or by the hopes of an eternal reward. 

Though at first sight the sudden rise and progress of Islamism, and 
the almost magic creation of the Saracenic empire may appear wonderful 
and even unaccountable, yet a little consideration will quickly discover 
the several elements which led to the establishment of both. 

Arabia, during many centuries, had been in a peculiar position in 
reference to surrounding nations. While she herself possessed complete 
civil and religious toleration, the neighboring countries had long 
suffered the horrors of political tyranny and religious persecution. Jews 
had fled before the horrors of Roman invasion, from the devastation of 
Titus and Hadrian, and had carried their peculiar tenets into Arabia, 
the land of their refuge. Magians, and disciples of Zoroaster had sought 
in Arabia the free exercise of their respective religions ; while perse- 
cuted sects of Christians had alternately taken refuge in this land of 
freedom. All these fugitives mingled freely with the natives, and exten- 
sively modified the ancient faith of the country, which was a worship of 
the sun, moon, and stars. Every Arabian adopted what he chose from 
all these various sects by which he was surrounded ; and it is not sur- 
prising, therefore, that the Arabians so unanimously and so earnestly 
professed the creed of Mahomet, when suddenly this new prophet arose, 
manifesting all the eloquent fanaticism requisite to attract the attention, 
and fix the faith of those who, like the Arabians, had previously pos- 
sessed no national, clearly defined religion. This new creed, moreover, 
was the direct means by which the dormant energies of the Arabian 
people were awakened and stimulated into an active, vigorous life. The 
reasons of this are at once manifest. The religion of the Koran con- 
tained much that was pure and elevated, amid the dross that was intro- 
duced, undoubtedly for the purpose of making it acceptable, and smooth- 
ing the way for those who were willing to profess its creed : — "There is 
one God, and Mahomet is his Prophet." The conception of the Supreme 
Being, as set forth in the Koran, was such as required the exercise of a 
purely spiritual vision ; for the Almighty was never represented in such 


a bodilv form as could bo conceived by the eve of flesh, but us an 
" Kternal and Infinite Being, without form or place, without issue or 
similitude, present to our most secret thoughts, existing by the necessity 
of his own nature, and deriving from himself all moral and intellectual 
perfection." The first Moslems were, moreover, deeply imbued with an 
earnest persuasion of the truth of the new creed, and fulfilled to the letter 
the strict requirements of its moral precepts. Every professor of Islam too, 
was a believer in the decrees of an all-powerful fate ; and he went to 
battle with the simple, but earnest faith, that if he died he would be at 
once translated into the midst of an eternal Paradise, figured forth in all 
the carnal luxuries of oriental magnificance, where more than three- score 
black-eyed Houris should wait upon the "imparadised soul" of the meanest 
believer. Such a faith could not fail to stir to its utmost depths the soul 
of the Arabian people : for great religious, or even intense intellectual ex- 
citement is almost invariably accompanied by a corresponding develop- 
ment of physical energy. These considerations being borne in mind, and 
at the same time, the fact that Mohammedanism had to grasp in its 
infant hands the sword of self-preservation , and the reasons for the peculiar 
development which this religion eventually assumed, are at once apparent. 
The Prophet, ever ready as expediency suggested, to adapt the precepts of 
his religion to outward circumstances, soon not only permitted, but even 
enjoined the use of the cimeter in conversion. " In the shade of the 
crossing of cimeters," the Prophet declared, " Paradise is prefigured." 

Such then was the faith that stimulated the Arabian people, a race 
possessing, as we have already seen, since a remote antiquity, all the ele- 
ments of physical and intellectual greatness ; and it is worthy of remark in 
this connection, that a religion need not possess absolute truth in order 
strongly, and even beneficially to affect the political and moral life of those 
who profess its doctrines. A faith radically wrong in its conception of 
the Divine Being, of his office and attributes, so long as it enjoins nothing 
utterly repugnant, or degrading to humanity, will often, through an 
earnest enthusiastic conviction of its truth, produce results, which may 
never be effected by a religion containing a much greater amount of abso- 
lute truth, but whose teachings are received with a formal, and half- 
sceptical recognition of their reality. An earnest, vivid, absorbing faith, 
even though unfounded, will sometimes produce effects which may well 
be regarded as astonishing, when opposed to those of a cold, unheeded, 
and undefined, though it may be an essentially truer and nobler faith. 
This needs no illustration further than that furnished by the instance in 
question ; for in the material and intellectual, as well as in the religious 
progress of the professors of Islam, may be traced at this period the 
results of earnestness, as opposed to coldness. The light of Arabian 


power, — of her intellectual greatness would seem to have been enkindled 
at this time, in order that the sacred fire which which was now dying 
upon the altars of European power, should not forever be extinguished 
in the darkness of universal ignorance. At the very height of Arabian 
greatness, Western Europe was still enshrouded in the thick mists of the 
dark ages. The first of the Ommiade Caliphs had fixed the capital of 
his empire in the ancient and beautiful city of Damascus, nearly a century 
and a half before Charlemagne had assumed the purple, and placed upon 
his brow the iron chaplet of the ancient kings of Lombardy. The 
Eastern Empire had now out-lived its ancient glory, and was engaged in 
a languid struggle with Persia, which was only prolonged through the 
incapacity of either to bring it to a close. And when at last Heraclius, 
with something of the spirit of the ancient Csesars, had devastated Persia 
from Tauris, to the Caspian and Ispahan, and had plundered the riches 
of the degenerate Chosroes, he was awakened from his fond triumph by 
the approaching dangers of Saracenic invasion, to learn that Bostra and 
Damascus, two of the fairest cities of his Syrian Provinces, had already 
fallen a prey to the conqueror. The spirit of Christianity, moreover, had 
departed in the midst of the scrupulous observance of its forms ; while 
Western Europe was yet to receive the first seeds of intellectual culture, 
from the Arabians of later generations. The clear light of learning which 
had shone with such a vivid and enchanting splendour in ancient Greece, 
and had been thence transferred across the Adriatic, had been long 
extinguished by the wild-rushing torrents of Teutonic invasion, and 
could never have been rekindled, but by some external vivifying power. 
Thus, it will be seen, that not only did their own peculiar physical and 
intellectual activity, but also the political, religious and intellectual dead- 
ness of Western Europe favour this sudden development of Arabian 
genius and power, which afterwards exercised such a benificent influence 
upon Mediaeval Europe, and the world at large. 

In the year A.D. 622, upon a hill in the vicinity of Mecca, amid the 
stillness and darkness of night, were planted the first seeds of the future 
Saracenic empire. Seventy-five of the citizens of Medina met with the 
Prophet upon this occasion, and with no witnesses but the bright stars 
of their native sky, swore that oath of allegiance and fidelity which was 
never broken. Mahomet lived but ten years thereafter, but yet he lived 
to see a united Arabia, subject to his religion and his arms; and a cen- 
tury after his death the political organization which he inaugurated had 
extended from, the Pyrenees to the Indus and the Oxus. Persia, Syria, 
Egypt, Africa, and Spain, were successively deluged by the tide of Sara- 
cenic conquest, which was only exhausted upon the field of Tours, 
where Charles Martel proved the strength and constancy of Christian 


valor, and saved Europe, in all probability, from the dominion of the 

The primary effect of these conquests was necessarily disastrous. The 
wild fanaticism of the early Saracen conquerors was powerful only to 
destroy ; and by them was effaced whatever of enlightenment still 
existed in the countries which they overran. But the very violence of 
their fanaticism tended to exhaust it ; while the pride of victory, and 
voluptuous indulgence in every carnal luxury that imagination could con- 
ceive, soon destroyed that ancient spirit which had enabled them to 
acquire the means of indulging their subsequent luxurious tastes. It 
was quite impossible that the Arabian conqueror, inhabiting the fairest 
provinces, breathing the voluptuous air, and brought into intimate con- 
tact with the varied luxuries of the vast dominion of which he was sole 
ruler, could for any length of time maintain that primitive simplicity, 
and austere fanaticism, to which he owed his brilliant progress. Accord- 
ingly, another phase of the ancient Arabian character now began to be 
developed. Ambition being satisfied, the natural inclination of man to 
live a life of ease, cultivating the gentler arts, now began to manifest 
itself. Under the Ommiades, who reigned at Damascus, the Caliphate 
attained the height of its material greatness. The last Caliph of the 
House of Moawiyah ruled over an undivided empire, " two hundred days 
journey from east to west," — stretching' from the Atlantic to the Indus. 
The absolute power of the sovereign was obeyed with equal alacrity at 
Ispahan, and Cordova, or Seville ; while the Moor of Africa and the 
Mahometan of India were bound together by the ties of their common 
religion. The empire, however, was soon rent asunder by the .contest 
which took place between the Ommiades and the Abassides. The house 
of Abbas maintained its superiority in the East ; while the white flag 
of the Ommiades was erected in the West, where Abdalrhaman founded 
the Emirate of Cordova, which, under his descendants, proved a worthy 
rival in science and in song, to the Eastern Caliphate, whose capital, — 
the imperial Bagdad, around which cluster so many recollections of 
Eastern romance and splendor, was long the seat of Arabian learning in 
the East. 

The enthusiasm which the Arabians of the this period manifested in 
the pursuit of literature and science, as well as the prodigious, though 
ephemeral results which they attained, seems more like one of their own 
wild Oriental fictions than sober matter of history. Within a century 
and a-half after the foundation of the monarchy, the Caliphs Al-Mansour, 
Haroun-al-Rachid, and Al-Mamoun, constituted themselves the munifi- 
cent patrons of learning, and made their new capital, upon the banks of 
the Tigris, the home of Science and of -Art, as well as of the most gorge- 


ous and enervating luxury. Al-Mamoun, animated by the sentiment 
that " they are the elect of God, his best and most useful servants, whose 
lives are devoted to the improvement of their rational faculties," not only 
was himself an ardent student, and encouraged the labours of Arabian 
scholars, but through his representatives at Constantinople, he obtained 
the literary treasures of Ancient Greece ; and from Armenia, Asia Mi- 
nor, Syria, and Egypt, he exhumed the forgotten wealth of those once 
flourishing lands. This Caliph, who had principally devoted himself to 
the study of the sacred Mahometan law, also cultivated and encouraged, 
by every means in his power, the sciences of Mathematics and Astron- 
omy, offering the greatest inducements to attract to his court scholars in 
every branch of science. Nor was this zeal confined to the Caliph, or to 
the capital. The rival schools of Bassora and Cuffa sent forth scholars, — 
Grammarians, and Rhetoricians, who have defined with the most critical 
acumen, all the rules of the Arabian language. Schools and Universities 
were established at Balk, Ispahan, Samarcand, and Bochara, where philos- 
ophy, and the natural sciences were studied with emulous ardour. The 
Fatimites of Egypt, and the Edrisites of Mauritania, devoted themselves 
with equal zeal to the pursuit of learning. Numerous schools were 
founded at Cairo and Alexandria ; while colleges with munificent 
endowments were erected at Fez and Morocco, in whose princely libraries 
volumes of ancient science have been preserved, which otherwise would 
have been lost to Europe. The library of the Fatimites, at Cairo, is said 
to have contained one hundred thousand valuable manuscripts, which 
were available to the most lowly scholar ; while the library of the Ommi- 
ades of Spain contained no less than six hundred thousand volumes, It 
was in Spain that Arabian learning and culture attained its highest devel- 
opment ; and it was through Spain, also, that Arabian genius more par- 
ticularly influenced the intellectual development of Mediaeval Europe. 
Universities, Colleges and Academies sprung up as if by magic. Libra- 
ries, (many of the manuscripts of which are still preserved in the Escu- 
rial) were founded in all the principal towns. But, while such was the 
condition of Spain, the rest of Europe was sunk in the deepest ignorance 
and barbarism : without any knowledge of ancient literature, or science : 
without a fixed language, and hence without the slightest germ of that 
subsequent Romance literature, which has equalled, and even surpassed the 
literature of Antiquity. Europe, in fact, was only now beginning to 
recover from the devastation, and utter darkness, that was imme- 
diately consequent upon the Teutonic invasions. These had most 
effectually destroyed all the knowledge and culture of ancient Rome, 
and had destroyed the synthetic structure of the Latin language, 
used in the various provinces of the empire ; while of the modem 


Romance languages, even the Provencal, did not receive a fixed form 
for more than a century, after Abdalrahman L, founded the kingdom 
of Cordova ; and so, in like manner the Norman sponsors of the future 
French language werte only now, in the reign of the great Carlo viniau 
Emperor beginning to descend from their northern fastnesses, upon the 
coasts of southern Europe. Just as a bright light shining out into the 
darkness and turbulence of a stormy night, fixes the gaze, and attracts 
the steps of the weary traveller, so this bright lamp of learning 
enkindled in Saracen Spain, and whose beams penetrated to the re- 
motest extremities of the continent, attracted scholars from all parts of 
Europe, who, after studying the literature and sciences of the east, in 
the Colleges and Universities of Spain, returned home and disseminated 
still further the knowledge which they had acquired. One of the most 
celebrated of these scholars was Gerbert, a monk of Aurillac, who, after 
he had studied Mathematics, and the Aristotlelian philosophy of the Ara- 
bians, at the Universities of Seville and Cordova, and had obtained an 
intimate knowledge of Arabian literature, returned to France, and after 
teaching in the schools and monasteries of Rheims, Aurillac, Tours, and 
Sens, passed to Italy where his attainments excited such admiration, that 
he ultimately became Pope, A. D. 999, under the title of Sylvester II. 
The Arabian sovereigns of Spain favoured this species of intercourse ; for 
at the time when Spain- was detached from the Caliphate, the fanaticism 
and ferocious bigotry of the first Mahometans had been considerably 
diminished, while literary and scientific pursuits had necessarily produced 
more cosmopolitan views. But, besides this, the Ommiade rulers of 
Spain, being in antagonism to their brethren in the east, felt that their 
truest policy was to lay broad and deep, the foundations of their throne 
upon the affectionate loyality of a united, a happy, and a prosperous 
people. Abdalrahaman I. accordingly courted the support of his Chris- 
tian subjects, and issued an edict of '■ peace and protection " ; while both 
he and his successors protected the rights, and respected the privileges of 
their Christian subjects, who, under the name of Mocarabians, or mixed 
Arabians, lived in the midst of their infidel conquerors, enjoying tbe most 
ample religious toleration, and at the same time, partaking of all the 
benefits of Arabian culture and enlightment. Many of these Mocarabians, 
abandoning their own language, used that of the Saracens instead. Of 
such as these, Alvaro of Cordova complains "that they have abandoned 
the study of their own sacred characters for those of the Caldceans.'' John 
of Seville, also for the benefit of those who had forsaken their mother 
tongue, wrote in Arabic an exposition of the Sacred Scriptures ; while, 
on the other hand, works of Arabian science were translated into the 
various Christian dialects of Spain. After the Ommiade dynasty had 


passed away, Spain was divided into a number of petty Moorish sove_ 
reign ties, which, in proportion as they declined in material power, were 
animated by the keenest rivalry in literary and aesthetic pursuits : for 
the various sovereigns of these states attracted to their courts all— whether 
Arabians or Christians — celebrated in arms, in science, or in song. The 
Moorish Courts of Spain, during all this period, present a wonderfully 
brilliant but confused picture, in which physicians and astrologers, his- 
torians and poets, daring soldiers and dark-eyed Moorish beauties, re_ 
splendent in the riches of oriental costume, are mingled in the mazy 
intricacies of courtly intrigue and splendour. And after the Christian 
kings of Castile and Aragon had begun to encroach upon the Moors, 
they were merely reoccupying ground which had been fertilized since the 
expulsion of their ancestors centuries before, and which afterwards bore 
a rich intellectual harvest for the Christians of Spain, and through them 
for the rest of Europe. Thus, for example, the celebrated crusade, insti- 
tuted by Alfonso VI. of Castile, in which French Provencal and Gascon 
knights were engaged along with the immortal Cid Rodriguez, and which 
terminated in the subjugation of the Moorish kingdom of Toledo, only 
brought the Christians into more intimate connection with the Arabians 
than before. These latter obtained complete religious toleration, and 
such as chose remained in Toledo subject to the Christian kings. This 
city was the seat of the most celebrated Moorish Schools and Universities 
which long afterwards continued to nourish under the Christian rule and 
spread abroad the knowledge of oriental science and literature. Thus, 
throughout the whole of the Saracenic occupation of Spain, till the final 
expulsion of the Moors from Grenada, the Christians and Saracens lived 
together in the most intimate connection, using one another's language, 
and deriving in common all the benefits of the immense superiority of 
the Arabians in arts, science, and literature. 

lu observing the subsequent intellectual dev elopement of Mediaeval 
Europe, the influences of the Arabians upon poetical literature generally 
are chiefly remarkable ; for these originated solely from the Arabians 
themselves. The whole poetical literature of the south of Europe is, even 
to-day, distinguished by many of the characteristics of Arabian song since 
the remotest times ; and these were entirely different from the peculiar 
features of classical poetry, either as regards its informing spirit, or the 
mere musical principles of its structure. Poetry then, as already re- 
marked, was cultivated at an early date by the Arabians, and of their 
early j oems there are still several in existence. Mahomet, and some of 
his immediate successors cultivated the Arabian muse, and when at last 
the intellectual energy of the Saracens culminated under the Abagsides of 
Bagdad, and the Ommiades of Cordova, poetry was cultivated with the 


most passionate assiduity, in every portion of the Saracenic dominions, 
and in none more so than in Spain. There, flourished numerous poets, 
whose works, and whose names are alike forgotten, but whose influence is 
perceptible, not only in the mental character of all the poetry of the 
south of Europe, but even in the musical principles of its structure. 
Numbers of these poets, Arabians, Mocarabians, and Christians, were 
attached to the various Moorish courts of Spain, and frequently passed 
from these to the now reviving Christian kingdoms, and more especially 
to Arragon and Catalonia. The marriage of Raymond Berenger, Count 
of Barcelona, with Douce, one of the daughters of the king of Provence, 
united the principalities of Catalonia and Provence ; and these possess- 
ing languages almost identical, the scholars and poets, whose tastes and edu- 
cation had been acquired in the courts, and schools of Grenada, Seville, 
Toledo, and Saragossa, were introduced into the south of France, where, in a 
a short time, — the chivalrous spirit of the Catalans and Provencals, being 
influenced by the taste, eloquence, and culture of the Arabians, — was 
developed that marvellous and prolific, but ephemeral literature of the 
Troubadours, the teachers of modern Europe in the art of poetry, and 
the living spirit of whose literature has passed into all the poetry of the 
south of Europe, and has influenced in no slight degree the development of 
northern song. 

In the characteristics of Provencal Poetry are at once recognized the 
sources of its inspiration. The taste and elegance of the Arabians, their 
passionate refinement of love, and their adoration of woman as a 
superior being — for such she was regarded by the Arabians, though in 
reality treated as a slave — all reappear in the songs of the Troubadours. 
Like that of the Arabians, the poetry of the south of France was almost 
exclusively lyrical, and was characterized by that passionate rapture 
essentially inherent in all lyric poetry. There is at the same time not the 
slightest knowledge of antiquity manifested by any of the Troubadours : 
no allusions whatever to classical mythology or history ; while the struc- 
ture of their verte depended upon principles entirely different from those 
which obtained in classic poetry, all of which shows how completely 
isolated were the poets of Southern France from any exterior influences 
except such as were communicated by the Arabians. This literature of the 
Troubadours was not confined within the limits of Provence ; but through- 
out the whole of Southern France, and in a great part of Spain the 
Provencal language was spoken and its literature cultivated. Toulouse, 
Poitou, Aquitain, Auvergne, and many other lessor principalities and 
baronies each possessed its train of Moorish satellites. Poets and reciters 
of Eastern tales, Physicians and Astrologers, all flocked to these courts 
for preferment and fortune, and took a prominent part in the gay fes- 


tivals of those sunny lands. The astute Henry II. of England through 
his marriage with Eleanor, the divorced wife of Louis le Jeune of France, 
acquired Guienne Poitou and Santonge, and these were by him trans- 
mitted to his descendants. Richard I., his son, was a Troubadour, and 
was of course the patron of his brother minstrels ; while the intimate 
connection between England and the South of France under the kings of 
the Plantagenet dynasty undoubtedly had an important influence upon 
the development of English literature, and most probably furnished 
Chaucer, "the first warbler of English poesie" with models for imita- 
tion ) for it is certain that Chaucer derived his inspiration, in so far as 
it was borrowed, from the Troubadours and Trouveres of France, rather 
than from the great masters of Italy, — Dante, Petrarch, and Boccacio. 
Truly indeed it may often be said that reality is stranger than fiction. 
An English king, at whose dreaded name, in the words .of an eloquent 
historian, Arabian mothers still hush their children to rest, while fight- 
ing for the recoveiy of the holy sepulchre from the lufidel Saracen, 
passed his hours of leisure and recreation in the composition of songs, 
the spirit and structure of which were derived from the conquering an- 
cestors of those very Saracens against whom whom he was now fighting. 
Besides Richard of England, many European sovereigns, as Frederick 
Barbarossa, Alfonso II. and Peter III. of Aragon, together with many 
other lesser princes, cultivated the " Gay Science," and diffused the spirit 
of Provencal poetry over the greater part of Europe. 

The distinguishing characteristic of modern poetry, as far as its struc- 
ture is concerned, is the substitution of accent in the place of quantity, 
and the use of rhyme, which never occurred in Latin poetry, except in 
the Leonine verses of the Middle Ages. The poetry of the Arabians 
possesses the same characteristics as modern verse, which fact, taken in 
connection with other circumstances, makes it not impossible but that it 
was through the influence of Arabian poetry that accentuation took the 
place of quantity ; while it seems more than probable that rhyme was 
adopted purely in imitation of the Arabians : but upon these points 
various opinions have been held. Sismondi clearly traces the connection 
between rhyme, as it existed in Provencal, with its use in Arabic 
poetry. In the latter the most usual form is the rhyming in couplets, 
and continuing the rhyme of the second line throughout the poem. This, 
he says, is the most ancient form of Spanish versification, and was also 
adopted by the Provencals. Another favorite form among the Arabians, 
is where the second line of each couplet terminates in the same word, 
all through the stanza or poem ; and this form of versification was also 
adopted by the Provencals. Bearing in mind these, and many other 
equally pertinent points, together with the intimate connection of the 


Troubadours with the Arabians of Spain, and it seems impossible that 
rhyme can be referred to any more probable explanation. Rhyme was 
certainly not a characteristic of Northern poetry, as may be partly illus- 
trated by the history of versification in our own language, where, so long 
as Scandinavian influences predominated in its early poetry, there Was 
no such thing as rhyme, in its modern acceptation, its place being sup- 
plied by alliteration ; and this latter would seem to be the characteristic 
peculiarity of Northern poetry ; while assonance is the peculiar feature 
of the languages of the South. With regard to the substitution of 
accent in the place of quantity, this would seem to be due to certain 
peculiarities common to all the Romance languages, and which need not 
be discussed here, rather than an absolute imitation from any source 
whatever. Those who support the theory of both of these charac- 
teristics of modern poetry being due to the Arabians, and received 
through the Provencals, usually go upon a theory advanced by M. Ray- 
nouard, in his valuable series of works upon the Provencal language — 
a theory adopted by Perticari, Sismondi, and others, that there was 
once an universal Romance language, intermediate between the Latin 
and the present languages of Spain, Italy, and France, and out of which 
these latter languages were developed. This theory, however, has been 
disputed by many eminent scholars, among whom may be mentioned 
Schlegel, the celebrated German critic, and also by Sir. G. Cornewall 
Lewis, in his "Origin and Formation of the Romance Languages." 

But while such was the influence exercised by the Arabians, through 
their occupation of the Spanish peninsula, this was not the only channel 
through which Arabian taste effected the subsequent literary develop- 
ment of Mediaeval Europe. In A.D. 827, an Arabian fleet of one hun- 
dred sail, transported an army across the Mediterranean, to the coast of 
Sicily, and this was quickly followed by reinforcements from Africa, and 
even from Andalusia. The renowned city of Palermo became the centre 
of the Arabian naval and military power in Sicily ; and in a short time 
Syracuse was captured, and ruthlessly plundered of the remnants of its 
ancient treasures. From the Arabian harbours of Sicily, numerous 
squadrons issued forth to attack the coasts of Calabria and Campania ; and 
Rome itself was only saved by the courageous vigor of the Pontiff, Leo 
IV., and by the internal dissensions of the Mahometans. For two hun- 
dred years the Saracens were supreme in Sicily ; and it was only by the 
iron arm of the Normans, that these children of the Southern desert were 
at length subdued. Roger, the last of the sons of Tancred, crossed over 
from Apulia, and his first successes having attracted other adventurers, 
Palermo was soon besieged, and the Arabians were conquered in their last 
stronghold; and Roger, the *' great Count," now became sole master of 


the island. The Xorinans granted to the Arabians the free exercise of 
their religion and customs ; and in a short time the Arabians of Sicily 
possessed more influence and power than they have ever acquired in any 
Christian sovereignty. It was only in the 12th century, at the court of 
Roger the I., son of the ''great Count," that the Italian language, which 
had previously existed only as an unlettered rustic dialect, received a 
fixed form, and was subjected to grammatical rules. Until the conquest 
of Sicily, by the Emperor Henry VI., in the last decade of the 12th cen- 
tury the Arabians mingled most intimately with the Norman conquer- 
ors, and occupied the most prominent positions in the State, as the phy- 
sicians, the teachers, the poets and the minsters of the Norman Kings ; 
and thus communicated their arts, science, and literature to that people, 
among whom, as we have seen, the Italian language first acquired a lite- 
rary existence, and among whom the first accents of its infant muse 
were heard. Both the structure and the spirit of the early Sicilian songs 
were exactly similar to those of Provence ; and thi-, not because one was 
imitated from the other, but because similar influences had affected the 
development of both. In Sicily, as in Spain, the Christians and the 
Moors mingled freely with one another in all the relations of life. They 
took part in the same musical festivals, singing together the same songs ; 
and to do this, it was necessary to adopt common forms of versification 
and recurrence of rhyme ; and seeing that the Arabians were the 
masters, in all that pertained to literary taste, or culture, there can be 
little doubt whence the forms of Sicilian versification were ultimately 
derived. During a century and a-balf, Sicilian poetry was entirely 
amatory and lyrical, characterized by that fantastic ingenuity, and arti- 
ficially refined sentiments which is so marked in the chanzos of the 
Troubadours, and the ghazeles of the Persians and Arabians. The 
early works of the Sicilian writers are of little importance, except as 
showing the connection between the x\rabians of Africa, and the lan- 
guage of the great masters of Italian prose and verse : the inheritors, in 
the thirteenth century, of the language and literature, which in the pre- 
ceding century had been formed by the Arabians and Normans of Sicily. 
Many instances illustrate the connection between the early Sicilian and 
Tuscan languages : thus, Giambulari, a Florentine writer, published in 
1546, a work upon his native tougue, wherein he asserts that the vowel 
endings of the Tuscan dialect, are derived from the Sicilians, and were 
originally added in order to make the language softer and more harmo- 
nious ; and says, that Lucius Drusi, a Sicilian poet, accomplished this bv 
uniting the Tuscan and Sicilian modes of speech. Now, though tliis the- 
ory be unsound and objectionable on critical grounds, yet it shows how 
great must have been the influence of the Sicilian upon the Florentine 


language, when the earliest historians of the latter, in accounting for the 
forms which existed in their language, pointed to the lost effusions of an 
unknown and unheeded Sicilian poetaster. 

Such, then, are some of the extended and enduring influences of the 
knowledge of Arabian poetry in Europe. The early poetry of Spain, of 
Provence, and of Sicily, derived all its inspiration from the Arabians ; 
and through these countries were transmitted into England, Germany, 
and Italy, characteristics, whose origin may be traced in the songs of the 
Arabian Pleiades, that were chanted in the fairs of Mecca, centuries be- 
fore Mahomet or his creed appeared upon the earth, and the analogies to 
to which may be found in the magnificent hyperboles of David and of 

But in addition to this widely extended influence, the Arabians also 
revived and introd uced into Mediaeval Europe, the knowledge of all the 
sciences of antiquity — but developed and improved by their own study 
and research ; so that from the tenth century, the Saracens were the sole 
instructors of Western Europe in the sciences of Mathematics, Philoso- 
phy, Astronomy and Medicine. Through their extensive conquests the 
Arabians of the East were brought into intimate contact with the inhabi- 
tants, both of Asia Minor — the once celebrated Ionia — and of those islands 
of the Grecian Archipelago, " where grew the arts of war and peace," 
and where, were still preserved many of the precious volumes in which 
were enshrined the treasures of the science of ancient Greece. They, 
moreover, availed themselves of their immense superiority in arms, to pro- 
cure in Constantinople, itself, the jealously guarded, but unappropriated, 
Grecian classics. Many of the classical authors were at this time trans- 
lated into Arabic, and were studied with avidity by every Arabian scho- 
lar ; and some have been recovered in the Eastern versions which are lost 
in the original. Aristotle, Plato, Euclid, Apollonius, Ptolemy, Hippo- 
crates, and Galen were all translated into the Arabian language, and in 
the days of the good Caliph, Haroun-al-Eachid were the ordinary subjects 
of study to many a toiling Arabian student, as they have been since, to 
hundreds and thousands of others, in the dim cloisters and Universities of 
Mediaeval and Modern Europe, as well as in the young institutions of a 
giant continent, which was then unknown. None of the sciences which 
the Arabians introduced penetrated so rapidly into the school, of the West 
as their Philosophy, which, however, was that in which they themselves 
had made the least substantial progress ; though they devoted themselves 
to it with the most passionate assiduity. The name of Averrhoes, of Cor- 
dova, who lived in the tenth century, and wrote a commentary on the 
works of Aristotle, is still celebrated throughout Europe ; while both he 
and Avicenna, a successful physician, as well as a subtle philosopher, were 


not considered unworthy of being named among the sages of Antiquity, 
who appeared to Dante in his sublime vision." Through the contro- 
versies of the Mahometans of Spain, upon the writings of Aristotle, the 
philosophy of the Stagirite was again revived and introduced into the 
schools, though accompanied and obscured by the commentaries of the 
Arabians, who never elucidated, but only mystified the meaning, so that 
it would hardly have been recognized by the great philosopher himself. 
The philosophy of Aristotle was ultimately degraded, in the schools, to a 
mere system of formularies, which were universally prevalent, till super- 
seded by the revival of Plato nism ; even after which the philosophy of 
Aristotle retained great influence, through the general use of its system 
of logic. 

The Arabians, however, are justly celebrated for their medical know- 
ledge and skill ; for through the school of Gondisapor, in Persia, they 
became thoroughly acquainted with the principles and practice of Gre- 
cian medicine, as taught in the writings of Galen and Hippocrates. 
The Nestorians of the Greek Empire, obliged to fly from the persecu- 
tions to which they were there subjected, took refuge in Persia, and 
founded, at Gondisapor, a School of Medicine, celebrated so early as the 
seventh century, and which taught to the nations of the East the prin- 
ciples of the healing art, as practised among the Greeks. George Back 
tischwah, a descendant of one of these persecuted Christians, and a 
celebrated physician, was invited to the Arabian court by the Caliph 
Al-Mansour, and was the first to communicate to the Arabians the 
medical skill of the ancient Greeks. Soon the new study was pursued 
with the greatest ardour and success. Eight hundred and sixty physi- 
cians were qualified and licensed to practise in the city of Bagdad alone ; 
while the names of Mesua, Geber, Razis, and Avicenna, are still cele- 
brated throughout Europe. This medical knowledge w r as quickly trans- 
ferred through all the African, Sicilian, and Spanish dominions of the 
Saracens. The Christian kings of Europe were obliged to trust to the 
skill of Moorish physicians ; while the first elements of medical know- 
ledge were acquired in the schools of Spain and Salerno ; and this latter 
is especially celebrated : for there Constantine, an African Christian, who 
had studied medicine at Bagdad, under the great Avicenna himself, as 
well as many other skilful Arabian doctors, practised, under the protec- 
tion of the Norman sovereigns, the principles of their blessed art. The 
practice of medicine was necessarily founded upon an intimate and exten- 

C'anto IV. deli' Inferno : — 

" Ippocrate, Avicenna, e Gailieno, 
Averrois che il gran cornmento feo, ' 


sive knowledge of Botany, Chemistry, and Anatomy, all of which the 
Arabians studied, and in which they made important progress ; though 
in Anatomy their knowledge was somewhat restricted, through their 
reverence for the dead, which forbade dissection. 

Thus might be pointed out the important influence exercised by the 
Arabians, in introducing into Europe, mainly through Spain, almost 
every one of the modern scinces, which have since made such marvellous 
progress, and in which new discourses are daily astonishing the multitude. 
Geometry, they introduced into Spain ; though Gibbon, in speaking of 
this, says in an undecided sort of a way, " that ancient geometry was 
resumed in the same state by the Italians of the fifteenth century" ; and 
means us to infer, probably that this was independent of Saracenic in- 
fluence. The word Algebra, at once indicates whence the science has 
been derived, though indeed the Arabians do not claim to have 
originated it but ascribe that honour to the Grecian Diophantus. 
In arithmetic is still seen the influence of the Arabians, from whom is 
derived our present system of notation. History was cultivated with 
such assuidity, and the number of historians was so great, that Aboul- 
Honder, for example, wrote a history of celebrated horses ; while 
Alasueco performed a similar office lor those departed camels who had 
won celebrity. Historical, Geographical, Critical, and Bibliographical 
Dictionaries were all in common use among the Saracens of Spain ; who, 
at the same time, applied all their scientific knowledge to perfecting the 
necessary arts of life. Agriculture was made a science in connection with 
Chemistry. The manufacture of paper was introduced into Europe by 
the Saracens of Spain, among whom, the town of Sativa (San Filippo) in 
Valencia, was celebrated for its beautiful paper ; while, so early as the 
end of the thirteenth century, paper-mills were established throughout 
Christian Spain, whence in the fourteenth century, the knowledge of this 
art passed to Padua and Trevisa. Numerous other discoveries, known 
to Europeans only at a comparatively late date as: eg., those of gun- 
powder, and of the mariner's compass, were known to the Arabians in 
very ancient times ; while many of the commonest luxeries of life have 
been imperceptibly introduced into Europe, without any thought being 
taken as to whence they originated. 

Such then is a brief sketch of the material power, and intellectual 
activity of a nation, which has come into existence, attained the height 
of its glory, and passed away, while as yet the modern nations of Europe 
were in the " boisterous spring time" of their early years. The rich 
and sunny lands of which the Arabians were once the lordly masters, 
have been wrested from their nerveless grasp ; while their intellectual 
supremacy has been transferred to those who were once their humble 


scholars ; so that the Arabian who now pastures his flocks in the fertile 
oases of his native desert may well exult in the glorious recollections of 
the past : for these are all that remain to him of the magnificent empire 
that once stretched from the borders of China to the shores of the 
Atlantic. And yet this change has been brought about by no foreign con- 
quest, by no external disaster ; but by the canker of corruption within. 
The early freedom of the Arabians was soon overshadowed by the power 
of despotism ; while luxurious tastes were soon acquired, after the means 
of their indulgence, and though progress and apparent vigor may equally 
survive the destruction of liberty, or the indulgence in luxury, yet such 
progress, and vigor are of short-lived duration : are apparent rather than 
real : are the last, and, it may be, the richest fruits of ancient freedom 
and simplicity, and not the first fruits of tyranny and luxury. The in- 
tellectual harvest of Rome's republican freedom and austerity ripened, and 
was garnered in the reign of the despot Augustus ; while the impulse 
awakened by the Mediaeval freedom of Castile and Aragon survived the 
despotism of Charles V. in whose reign began the most glorious period 
of Spanish literature. So in the case of the Saracens, their intellec- 
tual energy, though awakened and developed by political freedom, yet 
survived its parent after whose death, were attained the greatest triumphs 
of Arabian intellect, which have therefore become the inheritance of the 

|Uhtetir fpotts. 


The duty devolves on me to chronicle the Athletic element of our 
College, — not to tell of all the Herculean feats that live in the memory 
of the alumni ; of how a modern Milo, rejoicing in the sobriquet of 
Brigham Young, single-handed, put to flight a band of twenty roughs 
in College Avenue ; or how brazen locks and oaken doors have 
yielded immortal fame to those who sought and carried off their guarded 
treasures ; or how, big in his might, a slender seeming youth, while 
Spring still blessed the land, and Summer's impassioned lire was looked 
for, bore from the subterranean vaults a monstrous cask of beer, and 
placed it where his friends and he might drink, but Summers ardent 
eyes could uever penetrate ; — these are not my theme, but simply here 
to trace the history of our games. 

And first, because of its greater antiquity as a College sport, Football 
commands our attention. When its attractive spirit first found a genial 
home in the shades of this classic pile is to me unknown. Suffice it to 
say, that epoch is very remote. So far as my memory extends, its 
popularity has been unrivalled by any other game, and in bhi*, as in 
everything else, our career has been onward and upward. This year, 
more systematically organized than ever before, and under the guidance 
of a spirited corps of officers, — Mr. T. Langton as President, and Mr. 
J. B. Smith as Captain, — we have to congratulate ourselves on not losing 
a single match ; although we have contested the palm with the Toronto 
Medical School, Trinity College, Upper Canada College, and Osgoode 
Clubs. Were the circumstances equal, there is no doubt that the manly 
game of Cricket would assert its deserved prominence ; but the seasons 
of the College sessions are unfavourable for it, while they oiler a con- 
siderable space suitable for football. 

Next, not less in importance or in interest, but of later establishment, 
are our annual athletic games. They were founded in the Michaelmas 
Term of 1866, by Mr. James Loudon, M.A., Dean of Residence ; and 
especially through his liberal patronage and direction have they obtained 
their present importance. In 186G and 18G7 the games were confined 
to the resident students. The sum accumulated by a regulation of the 
Residence, imposing fines for irregularities, constituted the nucleus of 
the prize funds. The champion race was endowed by Mr. Loudon, who 
has each year presented a beautiful silver cup. The contests were in 
gymnastic feats, running, jumping, <fec. 


This year, we are happy to state, the games were opened to the whole 
College, — the prizes arising from the fines, however, being reserved for 
the residents. The President, Professors, and Tutors of the College, 
and the Graduates, were elected patrons ; and, in gratitude for the honor, 
made liberal donations : so that the prize list swelled into something 
really magnificent. I would ill fulfill my task if I failed here to 
mention our only lady patron, Mrs. Croft, who generously offered con- 
solation to the defeated contestants in a delicious plum cake. The 
College Council granted the 6th November as a holiday for the games. 
The excellent band of Her Majesty's 29th Regiment was in attendance, 
to sooth the disappointment of the vanquished, and heighten the joy of 
the victors. The elite of the city fringed the arena, — substantial old 
gentlemen, gay young' swells, pleasant mammas, and charming young 
ladies, — the last unconsciously adding nerve and spirit to the strife. The 
day was favourable, the games were spiritedly contested, and the whole 
proceedings passed off in the most pleasing and successful manner. 

I would like to mention all those who distinguished themselves by 
winning prizes, but space will not allow. Two gentlemen, however, 
were so prominently conspicuous, that I cannot fail to name them as the 
heroes of the day, Mr. A. Wardrop and Mr. G. R. Grasett, — Wardrop 
winning seven first prizes out of a total of nineteen, and Grasett carrying 
off, besides two other prizes, the Dean's cup for the champion race. In 
addition to the games of the former years, there was a mile walking 
race, which was by no means the least interesting ; such Grecian bends, 
such gyrations and contortions did the ambitious walkists adopt in their 
wild efforts to accelerate their ambulatory speed. The mile running 
race, a great test of endurance as well as speed, was most interesting and 
exciting to the spectators. The games were under the conduct and 
management of an elected Committee of students, who, in the words of 
their own report in the city papers, " deserve great credit for their 
indefatigable exertions." Were I not of that Committee, I would im- 
mortalize their memory by herein bequeathing their names to posterity. 

To how great an extent we are still influenced by classic Greece, is 
more directly perceptible in literature and the fine arts than in athletics ; 
but I will venture it as probable that our Dean found his motive for the 
selection of a finely wrought silver cup as a prize for the champion race, 
in the following lines of Homer, describing the games held by the Greeks 
♦ luring the Trojan war : — 

And now succeed the gifts ordained to grace 

The youths contending in the rapid race : 

A silver urn, that full six measures held, 

i;> Done in weight or workmanship excelled : 

Sidonian artists taught the form to shine, 

Elaborate with artifice divine, [Iliad, B. XXIII. , Pope. 


I have one more constituent to mention in the athletic element, and 
that is gymnastics. We have a gymnasium, erected in 186G ; not such 
a one as we would wish, it is true, but passable ; furnished with a mode- 
rate amount of appliances and appurtenances, — dumb bells, boxing 
gloves, parallel and horizontal bars, etc., etc. — which we students use, 
much as the illustrious Samuel Weller did the initial letter of his patro- 
nymic, according to the taste and quality of the gymnast. At present 
there is a dearth of gymnastic excellence in our college, and therefore, 
strange to say, there was no prize offered in gymnastics at our late games, — 
certainly not the most successful means of inducing the proper culti- 
vation of the neglected exercise. There is no other department of our 
athletic diversions so well calculated to bring out all the muscles of the 
body, and give healthful action to every function ; and none, therefore, 
which deserves more attention. We hope some one of our liberal 
patrons will attract attention in this direction by establishing an annual 
prize for the most clever gymnastic performance. 

We do not think the athletic element has yet attained the prominence 
and importance it deserves. There is ever a tendency in students, in 
their eagerness for intellectual culture, to neglect the proper development 
of the muscular system ; stupidly ignoring the fact, that the vigor of the 
mind is dependent on the health of the body, and that the health of the 
body is dependent on its proper exercise. It is probable that no nation 
ever gave as much attention and honor to manly strength, as those kings 
in the domain of the muses, the (ireeks : and there is scarcely a doubt 
that their extraordinary mental energy was in a great measure due t<> 
their exalted physical vigor. The fact stands conspicuous in history 
that the great epochs of intellectual brilliancy have succeeded imme- 
diately upon the great epochs of physical action ; as if physical activity, 
vigor, and might, straightway communicated corresponding characters to 
the mind. But whether these inferences are correct or not, this I think 
is true, that no nation, that has not shown itself superior in muscular 
force, has given evidence of mental superiority ; and that muscular 
weakness, indolence, and effeminacy, have been the sure harbingers of 
national decay. It has been said that England's empire is secure so long 
as her sons retain their fondness for cricket. There is scarcely a doubt 
that the hardy character of the English sports has a great influence in 
forming the characteristic hardihood and energy of the nation. That 
Briton was not far wrong, who, on being asked which was the best 
school in England, said " Eton"; and, in response to the demand for his 
reasons, that, "last year it beat all England at cricket." 

The fiat has gone forth : "in the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat 
bread ;" and he who neglects the literal meaning, and does not sweat, 


does so to the injury of himself and posterity. Those of sedentary 
occupations, and the indolent wealthy, bequeath weakness and disease 
to their children ; and their race soon becomes extinct, if it is not recu- 
perated by labor consequent upon a fall to poverty, or by the infusion 
of health and vigor from the laboring classes. The hardy energetic off- 
spring of the plebs are continually rising up and shoving to the wall the 
weak and effeminate scions of the patricians. 

Our rigid northern climate forces manual labor on the greater portion 
of the people : yet a considerable number are devoted to sedentary occu- 
pations. For these latter, athletic sports are the guarantee of that great 
desideratum, a sound mind in a sound body ; and their security against 
the deterioration of their descendants. 

Physical education is scarcely to be ranked second in importance to 
the cultivation of the intellect : the former is the foundation rock on 
which the latter may be securely reared. The aim of our schools should 
be, not only to raise to excellence each faculty of the mind, but also 
each muscle of the body ; and thus give to the nation manly perfection, 
in the highly cultivated mind supported and sustained by a strong and 
vigorous constitution. A national spirit is springing up amongst us, 
and we hope great things for our country. Proper attention to athletic 
sports by our educational institutions would not be an inconsiderable aid 
to our prosperity. As for our College, we predict that the athletic 
element, even now possessing fair proportions, will go on progressing ; 
and we shall hope for the day, and esteem it a fortunate era for A Ima 
Mater, and for Canada, when physical education shall attain its deserved 
prominence, and to conquer in athletic contests shall be a high and 
distinguished honor. 

^ttriwrjsity and Jwtety f terns*. 

Number of Graduates from 1844 to 18G8 598 

18G4 to 18G8 262 

" Undergraduates 37G 

11 Students attending Lectures 170 

" College Residents 41 


iiiswg ml §m«tifk Sinitf* 

5? ;t t r o n ^ : 

Rev. J. McCaul, LL.D., M.R.I. A., 

President of University College. 
Rev. James Beaven, D.D. 
H. H. Croft, Esq., D.C.L., F.O.S. 
George Buckland, Esq. 

J. B. Cherriman, Esq., M. A., F.C.P.S. 
Daniel Wilson, LL.D., F.S.A. Scot. 
Rev. William Hincks, F.L.S. 
E J. Chapman, Esq., Ph. D., LL.D. 
G. T. Kingston, Esq., M.A. 

John A. Paterson, M.A. 
J. Scrimger. | R. S. Wiggins | J. H. Hughes. 

itonUttg $mttani : 

(SM'mpxmding Jtoflttarjj 

C R. W. BlGGAR. 



A. Baker. 

H. G. Robinson. 

J. H. Coyne. 


W. Dale. 

mal ptf ti 'gxtMtniz : 


A. Crooks, M.A. 

18G2. Rev. J. Munro Gibson, M.A 

A. Crooks, M.A. 

1863. W. A. Reeve, M.A. 


William Wedd, M.A. 

J. Loudon, M.A. 


William Wedd, M.A. 

1864. J. Loudon, M.A. 


William Wedd, M.A. 

1865. Rev. J. Campbell, B.A. 


T. Hodgins, LL.B. 

1866. Rev. J. Campbell, B.A. 


W. J. Rattray, B.A. 

J. King, M.A. 


J. A. Boyd, M.A. 

1867. J. King, M.A. 


B. F. Fitch, M.A. 

1868. John A. Paterson, M A. 



Wxmxm to the Jtfmty : 



Gibson, J. Munro. 

1866. Junor, D. 


Reeve, W. A. 

Mooney, D. 


Campbell, J. 

1867. Ellis, W. H. 


Tyner, A.V. 

Patterson, E. G 


King;, J- 

1868. Robinson, G. H 

Croly, J. E. 

( Macdonald, W. 
\ Scrimger, J. 


Bryce, G. 

- — 

Smythe, E. H. 


1867. " Onr Fallen Comrades. 


Taylor, J, 


Boyd, J. A. 


Gibson, J. Munro. 


Woods, S. 


Fleming-, W. 


King, J. 


Campbell, J. 


Roger, W. M. 


Gibson, J. Morrison 


Fleming, W. 


Tyner, A. C. 





Paterson, J. A. 
Deroche, II. M. 
Black, D. 
Macdonald, W. 
Deroche, H. M. 
Mitchell, W. 

1866. Falconbridge, W. G. 

1867. Stewart, McL. 

1868. Croly, J. E. 
Macdonald, W. 

1867. Mitchell, W. 


j 1868. 

Atkinson, C. T. 

The Annual Conversazione for Session 1868-69 will be held at 
University College, February 5 th, 1869, which Graduates and friends 
of the Society are invited to attend. 



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